Over the centuries, the celebration of Christmas has gathered so much extraneous material that it’s difficult for most of us to remember precisely what we’re celebrating. Take away Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, and the elves. Put aside the Currier and Ives Christmas cards, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, and that little kid who wants the Red Ryder BB Gun. Let go of the gift-giving, the parties, the charities, and a White Christmas. Let’s even forget, for a moment, about our hopes for peace on Earth and good will toward all.
What’s left, and what remains the theological and spiritual core of Christmas, is the Incarnation. It’s the reality that God has taken on human flesh, been born as one of us, like us in all things except sin. We Christians believe that in Jesus Christ, the human and the divine are brought together, are simultaneous realities. It was part of God’s plan and purpose that he should experience life as we experience it– being born as a child, living and growing as a human child, knowing all our wonder and fear and joy.
In the coming of Jesus into the world, our human nature could be redeemed, and his divine nature could be concretely accessible to us. The world was changed by Jesus coming into it, giving birth to our hopes for salvation. Through his birth, his life, his teaching, and his death and resurrection, God Incarnate has made possible the Peace on Earth we long for, and the love and reconciliation we still believe can reign.
So, happy Feast of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Merry Christmas. May God continue to bless us with his healing love throughout the year.