The essence of Christmas is GOD’s coming into the world – the greatest gift known to humanity – the hope of planet earth!
God who is so great, the Creator of our ever-expanding universe, became so small, to be one of us, so that we who are so small can know him, and become so great in him. Christmas is the mystery of God’s coming into this harsh and cruel world, not to add to human pain by killing others to set up his Kingdom; but he came as humble love and tender mercy in a vulnerable baby, to save the world.
In keeping with Pope Francis’ declaration of an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (begun 8 December 2015), God’s coming into our world in the little baby of Bethlehem was the Jubilee of all Jubilees, “The Year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:18), The Day of Salvation, The Moment of Mercy that changed history forever. Francis said, in light of the harsh realities of our cruel world – the Syrian civil war with 300 000 killed and millions of migrants on the march, the horrendous massacres by Jihadist terrorists, and the many other sources and forms of human pain and tragedy – we need mercy! We need to show mercy, to receive mercy. We need a revolution of tenderness, to be kind and gentle with others. There is no more tender and merciful story than Christmas: God’s coming into our world as a little baby, to begin a revolution of tenderness – that we must join!
Read Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel announced to the teenage Mary that God’s coming into the world would be through her – her young body. Paul “spiritualizes” that same reality: God comes into this world again and again in and through every believer, as “Christ is formed in you” (Gal 4:19). The early church fathers used Mary as model for all believers in Christ. As Messiah was physically born in her, so he is spiritually born in us who believe. Just as Mary’s life, body and relationships took the shape of the Christ formed within her, so our lives, bodies and relationships, take the shape of Christ being formed in us. And the purpose is to literally save the world around us!
In the Luke text we find four characteristics in Mary that facilitated God’s tender and merciful coming into the world as the baby of Bethlehem. Continue reading Christmas: A Revolution of Mercy and Tenderness