Are we so accustomed to Christmas that we overlook the shocking truth of what we’re actually celebrating?
Christmas, “Christ’s Mass,” marks the birth of Our Lord. What a startling fact: God has become man to redeem us! God the Son, the Eternal Word of the Father, holds His arms out to us as a newborn baby!
Pope St. Leo the Great (d. 461) describes the mind-boggling awesomeness:
He comes down from the throne of heaven…Invisible in His own nature, He became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, He chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, He began to exist at a moment in time. Lord of the universe, He hid His infinite glory, and took the nature of a servant. Incapable of suffering as God, He did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, He chose to be subject to the laws of death.
Leo’s words are recalled especially for our March 25 celebration of the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary accepted her role in salvation history, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and she conceived Jesus — the precise instant of the Incarnation, the enfleshment, of the Lord.
God went to such extraordinary lengths to seek us out, cultivate a relationship with us, and save us so that we may enjoy eternal life with Him.
That in turn calls for a response from us, to welcome the Lord into every aspect of our lives. Can’t we respond with greater love and fidelity to the One Who has loved us infinitely?