As this Solemnity of The Incarnation dawns across our world, I extend to all a Blessed Christmas greeting! Beginning with Isaiah’ prophecy, (7:14) and recalled by Matthew in his Nativity account, we learn that a significant title of the One to be born is Emmanuel, meaning, God-with us.
In the Birth of Christ, God takes on our human flesh and condition. God has entered into human history, and humanity has gazed upon the face of God and seen salvation. This tremendously humble act of God in the person of Jesus, tells all of us that God has a great desire to be with us. On this Christmas, God wishes to speak to the depths of every human heart his presence, love, care and concern in the person of Jesus.
God comes humbly into the world to reveal his love. God’s descent into our humanity expresses his will to raise us to his divinity. In every Mass, during the preparation of gifts, the priest pours a tiny drop of water into the wine, and as he does so, he silently prays: “By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” (Roman Missal, 3rd Edition)
The Gospel accounts of Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it tell us that God works through ordinary human beings. This gives great hope to us! From Mary and Joseph, to Elizabeth and Zechariah, to the shepherds to whom the Angel of the Lord appeared to announce the Good News of the Savior’s birth; ordinary people experienced the extra-ordinary action of God break into the ordinariness of their days. We can and should expect that God, who accompanies us in this worldly journey, seeks to reveal his glory to us in the ordinary (and extraordinary) events of our human, worldy journey.
Finally, for us to be aware of and open to this loving embrace of God in our lives, we must be people of faith. God longs for an intimate, personal relationship with us. This is all made possible through Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate today.
Mary and Joseph allowed God to turn their world upside down, to bring his world into not just their lives, but through them, into the life of all humanity. Faith requires the same response from each of us. Our lives will be turned upside down by turning them over to God. It is precisely in the moments of ‘bewiderment’ that God is with us.
Mary and Joseph allowed the Word of God to give meaning, direction and purpose to their lives. The same holds true for us. When we grow in relationship with Christ and knowledge of his Word, we will discover the mission and purpose of our life. Each of us has such purpose in God’s eye and plan.
Everything in the life of Jesus tells us that our life (of faith) is found when we lose it for Christ. Our life is most fully expressed when we offer it as gift to another. Many people today wonder why God does not make sense. Perhaps it is because we have developed too many personal creeds while failing to inform our lives by the instruction of Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher who comes to reveal the Truth.
This Christmas, may you (we) have the gift to believe that God longs for a personal relationship with you (us.)
This Christmas, may we have the gift to recognize God’ accompanying embrace in the ordinary day-to-day life.
This Christmas, may we have the gift to live life as a ‘gift of self’ to God and to others.
This Christmas, may Christ who took on our humanity, receive our humble and full cooperation, to allow Christ to join us to his divinity.
This Christmas, may we receive the Giver, who is also the Gift!