What is it that you like best about Christmas? Is it the beautiful decorations and the lights on the trees? Is it the special meals with families and friends? Is it the Christmas carols or sending and receiving Christmas cards? Is it the parties with friends, co-workers or business associates? Is it the exchange of gifts and the kindness and generosity of so many people? Is it the look on children’s faces on the morning of Christmas as they are unwrapping their presents?
While so many various things may become associated with our Christmas experience, we must consider what Christmas truly represents from a Christian perspective. Christmas is about the mystery of the Incarnation. God chose to become a man for us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (Jn. 1:14) Timelessness entered into time. The almighty and all-powerful God became a helpless, vulnerable infant. The creator of all life became subject to suffering and death. The infinite majesty of God became finite. God walked this very earth. He could be seen, felt and touched.
While the many activities that we place upon ourselves as part of our Christmas traditions—shopping, decorating, cooking, sending cards, visiting homes, exchanging gifts, etc.—may overshadow or obscure its true meaning, Christmas is meant to remind us of God’s merciful love for us. Christmas celebrates when Heaven touched Earth. The Love of God took human form. Christmas is when a baby—the Son of God and Son of Mary—is born for us in Bethlehem. Christmas is primarily and definitively about Christ—Jesus, the Christ.
If Christmas is lived out as a once a year go-to-church experience, if it is just a time for the family to get together and share an extravagant meal, if it is merely a nostalgic, sentimental, feel-good holiday in which multiple gifts are exchanged, then we might just have missed the greatest act of love ever offered to us. When you peer into the manger this Christmas, realize that before your eyes is a glimpse of the love that God has for you and me by sending us His only-begotten Son.
God became one of us telling us how much the human person and human life is sacred and valued. God became a man ultimately to suffer, die and redeem us. Jesus is love-incarnate. His words and actions reveal the hidden mystery of God to us. He is why Christians celebrate Christmas.
On behalf of all of the priests, sisters, deacons and staff who serve our parish, we wish you and your families a happy, holy Christmas and a blessed New Year!
May the love of God which took human form in the person of Jesus be honored and revered in every human person that we meet.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
(P.S., Be an ambassador for Christ and wish people a Merry Christmas!)