The Virgin, harboring a mystery under her heart, remains in profound solitude. In a silence that almost causes the perplexed Joseph to despair. Incarnation of God means condescension, abasement, and, because we are sinners, humiliation. And he already draws his Mother into these humiliations. Where did she get this child? People must have talked at the time, and they probably never stopped. It must have been a sorry state of affairs if Joseph could find no better way out than to divorce his bride quietly. God’s humanism at once begins drastically. Those whose lives God enters, those who enter into his, are not protected. They have to go along into a suspicion and ambiguity they cannot talk their way out of. And the ambiguity will only get worse, until, at the cross, the Mother will get to see what her Yes has caused and will have to hear the vitriolic ridicule to which the Son is forced to listen.

In Greek tragedy there is the chorus that comments on the events, and it can be either sad or celebratory. In the Christian drama of Christmas, the angels of the Gloria are the chorus; they comment on the heavenly truth of this poor earthly scene in the manger. Glory is due God in heaven, but joy is given on earth to those men who delight in his good pleasure.

Father Hans Urs von Balthasar
From Magnificat, reflection for December 15, 2006