Mary and Joseph have arrived in Bethlehem seeking lodging in the inns and houses of the town. They are unable to find any, however, either because they are full or because of their own poverty. Still, nothing can shake the inner peace of those whose gaze is fixed upon God.
If Joseph was perhaps troubled and saddened out of concern for Mary and her unborn Child, as they were rejected time and again, he also smiled in holy tranquility as he gazed upon his most chaste wife. The sad noise of every door that was shut before them was at a same time sweet music to his ears.
This was what unborn Christ had come to seek. He had taken human form in His desire for these humiliations. O, Divine Child of Bethlehem, these days, which so many have spent in revelry and relaxation, your parents spent in toil and mortification! The spirit that ruled in Bethlehem is the spirit of a world that has forgotten God. How many times have we not let this same spirit rule within us?
It is the eve of the Nativity and the sun sets behind the roofs of Bethlehem. Its last rays touch the rocky hills around the town, turning them golden. Rough men rush to and fro, passing by Our Lord without care or notice in the streets of that remote town. They shut their doors when they see his mother at the threshold.
The vault of the heavens grows purple over the hills and knolls where shepherds watch their flocks. One by one, the stars begin to shimmer. A few more hours, and the Eternal Word will be present among men.