Minute Meditations

The Shocking Beauty of Christmas

Pope Benedict, who addressed 250 artists in the Sistine Chapel before Michelangelo’s half-naked, and often grotesque, images, said quite brilliantly, “An essential function of genuine beauty is that it gives humanity a healthy shock!” And then he went on to quote Simone Weil who said that “Beauty is the experimental proof that incarnation is in fact possible.” If there is one moment of beauty, then beauty can indeed exist on this earth; if there is one true moment of Incarnation, then why not incarnation everywhere? The beauty of Christmas is enough healthy shock for a lifetime, and it leaves the shocked ones dumbly struggling for utterance. Once the Eternal Word has become human flesh it is very hard to put it back into words—only music, poetry, and art can begin to suffice.

— from the book Yes, and… Daily Meditations


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