Mt 10:17-22 Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans."
These words seem in stark contrast from the gentleness of a baby born in a manger, and of shepherds visiting a newborn.
The message of Advent (our little Lent) was PREPARE and REPENT. Prepare and Repent, not only because we are unworthy of this precious gift: Jesus, coming to us as an infant. We are also to Prepare and Repent in preparation of His Second Coming. To Prepare and Repent, to respond to His Command: Mt 28:19-20 "Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations;... and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you."
The relationship that we have been cultivating through meditation; this desire to seek and recognize the voice of God, this is how we are able to respond.
Jesus says, "do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
Psalm 31 "You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me."
St. Stephen, the First Martyr, is a wonderful example of this promise from God. Acts 6:8-7:59 "Stephen, filled with grace and power, ...they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. ...filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”'
So, there is no real contrast. The Nativity of the Lord is the gift that empowers us to live the command of Jesus.
St. Stephen, pray for us.