Sunday, 23 December 2018 15:02

The theology of Christmas

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On the Feast of the Incarnation we celebrate Almighty God’s decision to become man by assuming the body of a human being. The Heavenly Father announced to Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of God’s only begotten son. Mary had been immaculately conceived in her mother’s womb, and was made ready from her conception for this supreme moment in the history of the world.

On the Feast of the Incarnation we celebrate Almighty God’s decision to become man by assuming the body of a human being. The Heavenly Father announced to Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of God’s only begotten son. Mary had been immaculately conceived in her mother’s womb, and was made ready from her conception for this supreme moment in the history of the world.

Mary humbly accepted the divine invitation and submitted to the will of her Heavenly Father in all things. When her time came she gave birth to an infant boy and named him Jesus. Being truly human, “He grew in wisdom, age and grace.” This divine mystery is beyond our ability to comprehend fully but we are all privy to the facts that surround the mystery.

It is important to know that the human and divine natures of Jesus are not mixed; one does not dissolve into the other. We accept this on faith. Jesus is one divine person with two natures. The human and divine natures in Jesus Christ coexist without becoming comingled. His humanity is always fully present. And yet, Jesus is one divine person, God incarnate.

Mary was just as perplexed as you are. She accepted her vocation in a state of wonder. She understood that the long awaited Messiah was to be taken from her body. Jesus is flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. The Lord was carried in her womb for nine months, and when her time came, God incarnate was born in the form of a tiny infant.

The process by which Jesus became a divine person began in the Father’s love. He wanted to become totally united to all of us, and made it possible for us to become members of the mystical body of Christ. The reception of this gift is given either in the sacrament of baptism, or in the sacrament of ardent desire for union with the Lord. We become other Christs. “In him we live, and breathe and have our being.” God initiated this divinization process by allowing us to become one with the inner life of Jesus. At each reception of holy Communion, we become more and more transformed into our Lord’s life. Our new status enables us to be Christ-bearers in our service to one another.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but was it in a stable or a cave? Some accept the mystical revelations of Catherine Emmerich; namely, that Jesus was born in a cave where shepherds came to give shelter to their sheep. St. Joseph, who knew the area from his boyhood, acted when he realized that there was no room at the inn. He brought Mary to that cave for shelter. They traveled to the outskirts of Bethlehem, and settled in a cold, damp cave to prepare for the birth of Christ the King. The most important event in the history of the world, the birth of Christ, which we refer to as the Feast of the Incarnation, took place in a cave where the body of Jesus was warmed by the breath of beasts.

On a personal note, the sentiments of my Christmas card are extended to one and all, “Wishing you the love Jesus, Mary and Joseph knew on that first Christmas night. May you and your loved ones share the peace and happiness of that love with each other.”

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