The Real Meaning of Christmas…

Two thousand years ago something most incredible happened on earth. Something that we all need to deeply reflect upon—the very thought can transform us if we let it. The amazing truth I wish to write about here is called the Incarnation. We say we believe it, every Sunday:

“We believe in…the only Son of God…
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.”1

The God of the Universe became one of us! A humble little Jewish girl from Palestine gave physical birth to our Creator. God Himself chose to become one of us, in the womb of one of His creatures! This is called the Incarnation—“the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it.”2

How wonderful! But how is it that we sometimes act like it never happened? I didn’t even seem to realize it did happen…until my faith was challenged by a non-Christian 7 years ago. He asked me why I was a Christian, but I didn’t have an answer. Wanting to have an answer, I began to learn everything I could about Christ and the Catholic Church. What I learned blew me away. 1. Jesus was a real person who existed and claimed to be sent by God. 2. Not only did he claim to be sent by God, He claimed to be God! 3. The Catholic Church began by Him. Secular history alone tells us these things. For example, the pagan Roman writer Pliny writes to the Emperor Trajan: “they [Christians] were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god.”3 Early Christian writers, known as Church Fathers, as early as the 1st Century, offer further witness to the truth that is stated in Bible:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1)

The Bible itself contains prophecies about the coming of Jesus that were written hundreds of years before His birth! What an amazing “discovery” it was to read:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6)

Finally I learned Truth by reading The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here is a paragraph:

423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man. He ‘came from God’, ‘descended from heaven’, and ‘came in the flesh’. For ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. . . And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.’

Learning all of this was life changing for me. In knowing about God you come to know Him—personally. I was able to say to my friend that God proves His love for us by stopping at nothing, even becoming a helpless little baby. If God is love would He not do such a thing? He came down to us that He might lift us all up to Him. We worship a God who would become poor, that we might become rich.

The question we all need to consider: if Jesus—truly God, is humble, shouldn’t we try to be humble ourselves? We as Christians are called to be Christ-like, to be Christ to the world and to recognize Him in others. When giving Christmas presents let us think: we are giving them to the Infant Jesus.

Let us pay close attention to the true meaning of Christmas this year and every year so that we may know Peace.

—-
1. Nicene Creed
2. Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #461
3. Pliny the Younger – Letters, Bk. 10, 97

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