Merry Christmas (We are Loved)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

I don’t always “get it,” Lord.
            But tonight, I did.
            Tonight, I got it when Fr. Joe spoke of the dual nature of gift-giving at the heart of our Christmas celebrations. Of Mary gifting our humanity to God by giving Jesus a physical body, and of God gifting Himself to humanity, so that they might share in His divine, blessed life:

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (CCC 1)

            I don’t often permit myself the space to roam this mystery, to wander the halls of its significance, to feel the weight of its life-changing implications settling, soothing, over me like a sweet perfume.
            I do not have to exist.
            And yet.
            I do.
            And not as if by happenstance. God willed me to exist. He has always wanted me.
            In a plan of sheer goodness, I’m told.
            And He loves me so much that He wants me to return to Him, wants me to give my heart back to Him.
But He doesn’t force me. Quite the opposite.
He comes as a baby, meek and mild, so needy He who is so needed, dependent on others He upon whom we depend for the very breath in our lungs.
He came that we would know Him.
Born to die someday.
And still, years later, at the Last Supper with His disciples, He gave of Himself. Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
He does so still.
In the Eucharist at every Mass, He willingly mingles His divinity with our humanity, humbling Himself again and again, hundreds of thousands of times each day in parish churches around the world.
All for the sake of knowing us, of loving us.
In the words of Fr. Joe, it’s awesome.
And I cannot, will not, keep silent about this reality.
I want to sing it from the rooftops:
We are loved, we are loved, we are loved!

Merry Christmas, dear reader. I hope you feel loved and hopeful today.  

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