We can never properly absorb the message of Christmas. It is simply too big. Certainly, we cannot understand a God who loves that much. We struggle just to appreciate this expression of God’s love. We have only our own experience of love to help us. And our own experience of love is so puny in comparison with the love of God. I think that we must simply admit the fact that we are still in the kindergarten in the school of God’s love.
God loves human beings so much that He stepped down from being God and became one of us. Everything in this sentence is improper, impossible, and beyond belief. How does God “step down” from being Who He is? Why would God do that? We do not do that. It does not make sense to us. I have a friend in prison; I feel for him, but I do not want to join him there. It makes no sense to do so.
Yet that is what God did. He has joined us in our misery. We do not know how it could happen; we do not know why. All we can do is celebrate this mysterious fact of love. This is what we do each Christmas. We look into the crib and see the love, and try to appreciate what we see. This act of God’s love, which we cannot understand or make sense of, we can appreciate.
That love can carry us through some bad times. The love of God is our universal lift, no matter what the problem. If we lose a job, or a friend, if we are sick or depressed, the memory of the love of God can lift us up.
This Christmas, we need to stare into the crib and appreciate what we see. The message of the crib is the ultimate answer to any problem we face, or will ever face.
Fr. James O'Leary