Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Faith Seeking Understanding for December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas! Today, with great and unsurpassed joy, the entire Church rejoices at the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. The ancient prophecies have been fulfilled, the longed-for Messiah has come, God is now a man. The startling reality of the Incarnation – God taking on human flesh – ought to strike us with us a renewed sense of wonder and awe. Such a profound mystery cannot be captured by simply attending Mass and singing Christmas carols at home. We ought to take time to read the scriptural account of the Birth of Christ in St. Luke’s Gospel (Chapters 1 and 2) and meditate on its meaning during this Christmas season.

Those of you who have attended the Epiphany Faith Festivals already realize that Christmas does not end on December 26th; in fact, Christmas day itself lasts for eight days. The Christmas Octave, as it is known, celebrates Christmas for the entire week, until the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, on January 1st. The Octave is the Church’s way to extend the joy of Christmas – and its graces and blessings – throughout the week. The “Christmas Season” extends to the Baptism of the Lord (January 15th this year). Aside from giving us extra time to recover from the hectic pace of holiday travel, family visits, and Christmas parties, the full Christmas season allows us to meditate on the great mystery of Christ’s birth. But what is this mystery?

Abbot Guéranger describes the mystery as twofold: first, the eternal God – not contained by time or space – has become a man; second, a virgin has become His mother. When we stop to ponder such a change to the natural order – a God-man and a virgin-mother – we begin to realize just how much our own lives need to change. Yet God has not been content to stop His transformations there: He brings each of us into His divine life through Baptism and Confirmation, forgives our sins through Confession, feeds us with Himself in the Most Holy Eucharist, and more. The Incarnation makes possible the entire Sacramental reality that is now ours. God uses His material creation to transmit Himself. Such considerations rightly boggle our minds, but simultaneously inflame our hearts with the love of our God: a God who became one of us so that we could become one with Him.

“So what?” we may now ask ourselves. God is now a man, His mother has remained a virgin; He uses the material world to convey His grace. But what does it mean today? It means that the world is no longer the same – or rather, while everything seems to remain the same, everything is different after the Birth of Christ. God now dwells with His people; He shares our nature, He shares our sufferings, and He has shares our inevitable death. God, whom the entire universe could not contain, has become a man and walks among us. Do we experience the depth of this mystery? Have our lives been utterly transformed by the reality that God Himself is now one of us?

May we meditate deeply on this mystery as we celebrate Christmas this year, and ponder the effects of Christ’s birth on every aspect of our lives. Then we see that all our good works, our prayers, our sacrifices, and sufferings are transformed by this mystery. By giving completely of ourselves, just as God did in becoming man, we enter into the very heart of the mystery of the Trinity itself: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16-17).

Have a Blessed and Holy Christmas!