Solemn Chapter of Christmas
|Come, let us adore Him!|
Today we prepare to celebrate the joyful coming of our Infant Savior. Though his coming was to be the central point of human history, He came silently, hiding his singular divinity with his ordinary humanity and consequently went unrecognized by his own people, whom he himself had prepared for the honor of welcoming the Messiah. “But to all who received Him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of men, but of God.” It was the will of God to give this power and it was also His will that determined the manner in which He did it. To show the magnitude of His love, He sent His beloved Son to redeem us while we were still unlovable. The apparent lowliness of the circumstances of Christ’s birth calls our attention to the reason for our celebration, the inestimable greatness of God’s love.
The story of the nativity offers nothing to distract us from this truth. The birth of Christ was not endowed with any aura of worldly glory that could fascinate our senses. The supernatural wonders recorded in the Gospels also yield to this mystery of grace. The angel choirs proclaimed His praises, but only to a small assembly of shepherds. The star that appeared in the sky attracted several wise men, but they arrived in Bethlehem with little ceremony and departed with less. Even His miraculous virginal conception was known only by a few. Thus, the most spectacular thing the first disciples were left to ponder is that which remains most essential - that for us and our salvation our Lord came down from heaven revealing His great love for His lost creation. By this He gave us the power to claim the glory he was to win for us. By this He gave us the power to become sons of God. This truth that we know by faith, on which we base our hope, and that we share through love, directs all our energy throughout the year, even after our annual celebration closes and the wise men return to their box.
St John Chrysostom notes: “He did not say however that ‘He made them sons of God’ but that ‘He gave them power to be made the sons of God.” This power is the awesome gift of grace which requires acceptance and faith on our part. There is no better preparation we can make for the coming of our Savior than our willingness to be born again by faith as children of God. To do so, we have the help of Christ, the Incarnate Word, who now clearly reveals to us God’s will for us by his teaching and example, and who nourishes us through scripture and the sacraments.
Knowing that these aids are important for us if we are to truly be adopted children of God, St Peter encourages us: “Like newborn babes long for spiritual milk that by it you may grow up to salvation.” Attentive to this advice, let us remember that we remain dependent on the great love of God, manifested today though the coming of Christ.