Welcome to the last day of Advent! Tomorrow we shift our celebration from joyful anticipation to full-out celebration. To maximize our joy this Christmas season, let’s reflect on what we’re celebrating. If your parish is stuck in “Jesus birthday” mode, you’re going to love reflecting on the full meaning of Christmas.
During Christmas, God enters the world as a human baby to dwell among us. The Incarnation and the Nativity of our Blessed Lord is such an amazing, multi-layered gift that the best I can hop to do in this reflection is to get you started on your own reflection of the awesome, wondrous gift that Jesus is.
- By uniting Divine Nature to human nature, Jesus truly is Emmanuel – God with us. God’s presence through Jesus was foreshadowed in God’s presence in the Arc of the Covenant at the time of Moses. The Arc was housed in the Tabernacle and a cloud and ball of flame settled on the Tabernacle to signify God’s presence there. In Jesus, God came to personally walk among us.
- By taking on a human body, Jesus made it truly possible for God to have a human relationship with us. Saint Francis De Sales even teaches that for this reason the Incarnation would have happened even if the Fall had not made Jesus’ act of salvation necessary. This is the pathway to Divine Intimacy for us.
- Through His human nature, Jesus experienced human life to the full, including all of its joys and hardships – in all ways except sin.
- By taking on a human body, Jesus made possible His sacrifice on our behalf. After all, the debt we owed to God was humanity’s to pay. But it wasn’t in our power to pay. So by being both God and man, Jesus was the only one who could pay the debt of sin.
- Jesus’ physical body sacrificed on the Cross also became the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. If the Incarnation didn’t happen, neither would the Eucharist have happened.
- Again, the Eucharist is the ultimate source of intimacy. Jesus’ body, blood, soul and divinity unite to our bodies and souls in the most intimate way possible.
- Because of the unity between God and humanity, grace gives us the ability to become members of the Body of Christ. This isn’t just a sweet metaphor for a human unity. Being members of the Body of Christ is a spiritual reality. United to Him in the Eucharist, we join Jesus in His eternal loving self-offering to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. Because of the Incarnation we are empowered by grace to participate in the very Divine Life of the Holy Trinity.
There’s so much more to reflect on in God becoming human to dwell among us. What reflections come to you? Please share in the comments so we can deepen our reflection on the Nativity of our Lord together!