“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the Father’s only begotten Son…”
The Christmas season is for many people a time for celebration with family, for good food, and for football. Some people even go to Church (maybe it’s the only day of the year on which they come to Mass). Have we forgotten the true meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is about the birth of a child. NO: it is about the birth of THE CHILD — the Eternal Son of God the Father, who (as one Church Father put it), leapt down from His heavenly throne and entered the womb of His Virgin Mother. The Word of God was made flesh. Really Human, while remaining True God. He took upon Himself all the infirmities of our human nature, except for sin. He took from His mother my humanity: He began to think with a human mind, to choose to serve and obey with His human will, to love with a human heart, to feel sorrow, anger and all of our human emotions. He took a human body and human blood — the same Body and Blood with which He promised to feed us in the Holy Eucharist (see John 6 and the Last Supper accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and I Corinthians). Jesus did not merely APPEAR to be human — He became fully human while in no way surrendering His Divinity. It is the Mystery of the Incarnation. That is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Why did Jesus become Man? Why did the Word of God take on my flesh and my human nature? To save us from our sins, and to “make us partakers of the Divine nature” (I Peter). As one early Church Father put it: “God became man so that man might become God.” Not in a New Age sense of becoming part of the universe/god, but in the very real sense of being caught up into the very life of God Himself. God, the Most Blessed Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) wants to have an intimate and personal relationship with us. This relationship begins for each of us when God claims us as His Child in Baptism, but it needs to be continually renewed and given new life. Let us renew this relationship with the Lord this Christmas. Let us begin anew to be followers of Jesus Christ as we come to adore Him resting in the arms of His Virgin Mother Mary. Let us adore Him along with St. Joseph and the humble shepherds, and remember that He did this for each of us — God became Man TODAY, on Christmas, for our salvation, and to make us “partakers in the divine nature.”
May you each have a most blessed and holy Christmas!
C. PAXSON says
Well written zFr. Ben. It is good to be reminded of what Christmas is for.