Christmas is a very exciting time of year, especially for children. They are focused on all the gifts they will receive. Adults also get excited about seeing the joy in the eyes of those children as they receive those gifts. But if you ask my parents, they probably weren’t too excited when my siblings and I would wake them up at 4am on Christmas morning. As children, we couldn’t wait to run to the living room and see what Santa had brought us. Of course, mom and dad would make us go back to bed for a couple of more hours so they could get a little more sleep. We on the other hand, were too excited to sleep.
During this season, it can be easy to get all caught up in the delight of gift giving and receiving. But, sometimes we focus on the giving and on the gifts so much, that we miss the fact that what we are celebrating is God’s gift to us. Our gift giving is a reflection of the generous gift that God gave to us that first Christmas – the gift of His Son. This gift from God is for all people. No one is excluded.
Christmas is the day that “The Word became Flesh!” Who is the Word? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1-3).”
The Gospel of Luke tells us; “This day, in the city of David, A Savior has been born for you, The Lord Christ Himself (Luke 2:11).” The shepherds who were watching their flocks nearby were told by the angels, “This is the sign by which you are to know Him; You will find a Child still in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger (Luke 2:12).”
Christmas is a day when the creator of the universe let Himself be born into a world He created. He took on a human nature by being born to a human mother He created. He brought heaven down to earth. Instead of heaven being looked upon as “somewhere out there,” Mary looked down on heaven as Jesus lay in her arms. Who would have thought that He who could make the sun that warmed the earth, would get His warmth that evening from the breath of those animals in the cave where He was born. The Eternal Word would be wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. No one would have thought that this all powerful Omnipotent God would come down to this earth being so helpless.
It is hard for you and I to understand just how much humility it took for the Word to become flesh. Just imagine if you and I had to give up our bodies and then send our soul into an animal such as a snake, for instance. Not only would we have to accept the limitations of the snake, but we would have to live along side other snakes. But, this would be nothing compared with God emptying Himself and taking on the form of a man. By doing so, He would have to suffer not only in the limitations of the human body, but would suffer His eventual sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of mankind.
Jesus’ humiliation began when He was conceived in Mary and ended with His death on a Cross. It is this act of sacrifice, the Cross, that gave you and I the opportunity to receive the gift of salvation. “If there were no Cross, there would have been no crib; if there had been no nails, there would have been no straw. But He could not teach the lesson of the Cross as payment for sin; He had to take it. God the Father did not spare His Son – so much did He love mankind. That was the secret wrapped in the swaddling bands.” (Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ, pg 24)
The ultimate gift of Christmas is God himself! Merry Christmas everyone!
Until next time, God bless.