Friday, December 20, 2013

The Nativity of the Lord ― Mass at Dawn


When we live for so many years as Christians, we can become numb to just how strange an idea this is: that two thousand years ago, the God who created the heavens and earth was born as a human being. Perhaps we could appreciate this mystery better if we described it in just a little different way. Instead of considering Christmas as a celebration of God being born as a human being, perhaps we could consider Christmas as a celebration of love being born as a human being.
Love is something that all of us want in our lives, and all of us pursue love throughout our lives. The difficulty with love is that so many people in this world define love in so many different ways. When people try to speak about love, they are very often speaking about entirely different things.
Often when we try to offer love to others, we find ourselves at cross-purposes. Love, for many, is an idea that we have in our minds; but unfortunately, it often doesn’t really serve as the anchor of what we say and do. Very often, there is a wide gulf between our idea of what it means to love, and what we find ourselves expressing in our lives by the words we speak and the actions we carry out.
God, however, is always concrete in all that He says and does. On this Christmas Day, He proclaims to the world, “A child is born in your midst, and He is My Son.” To Mary and Joseph, God entrusted Love incarnate. God gave them love in a manner that they could see, hear, and hold in their arms. It was the vocation of Mary and Joseph to care for this treasure, to nurture this love as He grew up as a boy in Nazareth. It was the vocation of Mary and Joseph to care for Jesus as He drew closer to the purpose of His life on this earth: the full revelation of God’s love on Calvary. This is a love that is given not only to relatives and friends, but a love that is given to sinners. This is a love that is given not only to those who wish us well, but a love that is given to those who have turned away from God.
“Love” is the definition of God. St. John tells us in his first letter that love consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that He has loved us, and has given us His Son as an offering for our sins. The Love who is born in the flesh on Christmas Day is the Love who offers His life for us on Good Friday.
By sending His Only Son to be become one of us, God the Father is proclaiming to us our destiny: He is revealing to each of us how much He longs for us to live forever as His adopted daughters and sons in Heaven. Because God the Father knew, before He even sent His Son to become human, why He was giving this great gift of Jesus to the human family: that is, for each one of us.
While we might not usually think of Christmas this way, in fact, at Christmas God the Father is reminding us that we humans are sinners, and that we cannot live on our own. This is the second mystery revealed by calling Jesus Emmanuel. When we say that Jesus is God with us, we believe not only that God became an infant. We also believe that he came for our sake.

- Fr Thomas Hoisington

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