Monday, December 18, 2023

What Does Christmas Truly Mean?


Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas to all!


The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Lk. 2:10-12)

The mystery of the Incarnation is foremost what Christmas is all about. God became 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 formed in the womb of a virgin. 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. Jesus is the face of God for us to see.

Christ’s humility should certainly be pondered as part of this mystery. Christ emptied himself (Phil. 11:5) and begins a hidden life in the womb of Mary. He has no royal palace and servants awaiting his birth but rather a stable. He was obedient to His parents and trusted in their care and protection as His life is threatened by Herod. He was forced to flee to a foreign land—Egypt. His life of sacrifice and humility will culminate in His suffering and death on a cross, like a common criminal.      

Secularists, atheists, agnostics, pseudo-intellectuals and various irreverent comedians may deny, doubt or make fun of that which Christians believe as a central mystery of our faith: God became a man. Yet, this is truly what Christmas signifies.

Unfortunately, Christmas is all too frequently experienced as a once-a-year, get-nicely-dressedgo-to-church experience. It becomes a time for the family to join together and share an extravagant meal. It is anticipated as a nostalgic, sentimental, feel-good holiday in which multiple gifts are exchanged. While these limited perceptions are not necessarily bad, let’s not miss one of the greatest acts of love ever given to humanity: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . . (Jn. 3:16)

Christmas celebrates when Heaven touched Earth and 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 unmistakably and definitively about Christ—Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, the messiah.

Christmas is a mystery that needs to be pondered regularly so that we can begin to examine all of its beauty—like a most magnificent gem. When you peer into the manger this Christmas, realize that before you is a glimpse of the love that God has for you by giving us His only-begotten Son.

On behalf of all of the priests that serve our parish, our sisters and staff, 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.

After all, God became one of us.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


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