Imagine the Son of God coming down to earth from the splendor of Heaven to be our friend in the flesh! This is the great mystery of faith we celebrate every Christmas.
Theologians call the event of Christ’s birth, the Incarnation: God wrapping Himself in human flesh with all the possibilities and limitations that implies. He who was eternal became bound by time. He who was power itself became a powerless, little child. He who was truth itself had to learn the language of men to teach us the wisdom of God. Who among us cannot be humbled by the love of God incarnate ( made flesh ) in a helpless child who could fit into the palm of your hand. Without fanfare, without the glitter of a radiant king, this tiny bundle of helplessness lying in a manger has brought us to our senses. His banner is not the banner of might or power, but the banner of the three superstar virtues that unite us with Him: faith, hope, and love.
Jesus knew human joy and friendship, sickness and pain, and all that it means to be human. Yes, His feelings were like our own and He was even subject to temptation. He was, as St. Paul said, like us in all things except sin. This is what we celebrate this time of year.
Christmas is a time of wonder. It is the most down-to-earth of our religious holidays. It actualizes the love of God in the loving ways people let Christ into their real lives by reaching out to each other with gifts, with prayers, with reconciliation, with acts of human kindness towards everyone, but especially the needy.
Christmas reminds us to put God back in our lives, to see Christ in each other. The Son of God became human at Christmas and transformed our way of thinking, our way of loving and our way of behaving towards each other. We see this more clearly and feel it more deeply at Christmas. Christmas is not a transient feast. It lives on as long as people of good will walk the same walk of Christ, as long as people reject the false gods of society, as long as people reach out to the poor and the destitute for Christ reminds us that whatever we do to the least of His people we do to Him.
Let us take hold of this good news of Christmas and live it all the time, every day, in every circumstance, and with whomever we meet along the way.
Have a happy and blessed Christmas!
Fr. Hugh Duffy