In many different ways the celebration of Christmas is memorable. Memories can include those who were part of those celebrations in the past who are still with us now, or those who are no longer with us. They can include special meals at which special foods are served. They can include customs and traditions that have deep and lasting meanings. Christmas this year is memorable as well. For the most part, unfortunately, this is for all the wrong reason. We might lament this, but to no avail other than realizing that the best Christmas gift this year is a vaccine.
Whatever our memories are, whether of past years or of this year, they ought not to allow them to distract us from the impact of what Christmas celebrates: God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise. It is the high point of God’s unrelenting effort to draw close to us and to all of creation. No longer will God rely on messengers and intermediaries. In Jesus Christ, God is now one with humanity, one with us.
God, the Alight, the All-knowing, unites with us in the person of Jesus Christ. God assumes the same human condition we possess. God becomes flesh to dwell among us, to live our lives in our world, with all its wonder and beauty as well as with it pains and troubles.
By doing this, God raises the dignity and the value of every human person. Because every human individual now shares the same human nature with God. All humanity shares this new dignity, this new worth, because God is now with us m acting with us and for us – not from afar, but in our midst.
The traditional greetings we express at this time of the year, wishing peace, joy and happiness to others take on greater significance this year. But these are more than just wishes. They are realities that are possible because they arise from the hope and the promise of God being one with us in Jesus Christ. Peace is that inner tranquility we have because of the dignity of sharing our human nature with God. We can be at peace with ourselves and with others because all of us share our human nature with God. Joy is that deep inner serenity at knowing the love which our God has demonstrated for all of us. Happiness comes from the knowledge of the potential we possess because of this loving union with God and with all people.
It is this Peace, this Joy and this Happiness that is brought to us because God has assumed our human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ at his birth in Bethlehem that we recall today. Whatever memories we might have of Christmases in the past, whatever form of celebration of Christmas takes place this year, Christmas is, as always, a celebration of our good And gracious God.