A very Merry Christmas to everyone! This year I am spending Christmas in Prague. This Advent, I spent some time reflecting on why we celebrate Christmas with such fanfare compared to other major feast of our Lord. For example: the baptism in the Jordan, or the Ascension, or even Pentecost. We do certainly have solemn celebrations for these other feast days, but not like how we do for Christmas.
Today we celebrate something quite unique, something that made possible all that follows. Today is the opening of the final scene of a great story, a great drama spanning all human history. Today God does something we thought impossible, something we could never imagine, something he had been working towards for millennia.
God originally made us to be his children, his friends, and Adam and Eve choose to trust in themselves instead of trusting God. As a result, they were no longer friends of God. This pattern repeated throughout history, God kept speaking to us and we kept not responding to him. He never abandoned us though and kept trying to repair that lost friendship. God knows that we are weak and that we can’t love him as we should by ourselves. So, he sent prophets to tell us that God will renew and enlarge his promises that he made with us.
This promise was that He would be our God and we would be his people. He promised that He would save the world from its brokenness. That we wouldn’t ever be alone or abandoned and He would always be present. But even more so, God promised that He would unite himself to his people and glorify them. He would become the Spouse of his people, us. That “as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so shall your God rejoice in you,” and we in turn would rejoice in God.
This was our hope, and today that dream happened. God, who made the universe, who existed before all things; and made each one of us personally that we might love him and so be happy; became one of us. God came to us, because we couldn’t come to him. God loved us so much, that he wanted to be just like us in all things except sin. God was an infant in the womb of Mary, He was born and lived as a child. Even as the smallest person, God saw them as someone he wanted to be like. God grew up and was a teenager and young worker, because he saw that as valuable to experience. God lived life as an adult, and even experience death that he might share in the entire human experience, because there is nothing that we experience in life that was beneath God.
He became man that he might show us how to live fully and that we might know that he loves us enough to experience all our stages of life; both joys and struggles. Even more than sharing in our experiences, He unites us to himself, that we can live a life of true joy. He came and has saved us from our sins. This saving is a healing, Christ came to heal us from our sins that we might have the peace of being friends and children of God. That we might truly be the people that we were made to be.
Now this healing that Christ brings isn’t simply a “magical cure-all balm.” Christ first gives us the hope that no matter how dark life might be at moments, he will aid us, though not always how we expect. He also gives us the strength to over come our weaknesses and failures by continually seeking and cooperating with Him. The Holy Trinity is the only Persons that love us unconditionally. No matter how insignificant or unlovable we may feel, God loves us and desires to know us. His hand is always extended to help us back up to continue to follow Him. And this is the great gift that God gives us today. That even while we were still sinners, Christ saw us as worth living among and healing.
Today God is born of Mary. He who was incarnate at the annunciation nine months ago makes his appearance. We are the “blessed the people that know the joyful shout” of Mary and Joseph seeing Christ born. This Christmas think about how Christ saw all our experiences in life as important enough to experience, even that of being an infant. Reflect upon God’s great love which He will never withdraw from us. And finally give thanks to Lord that he came to dwell among us forever. Amen.