St. Irenaeus said, “Christ chose to become man so that man can become like God.” Indeed, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, chose to become one of us, lived like us in all things but sin, to show us that we are worth loving and saving!
More than ever, at each and every Christmas, we are historically and personally reminded that our Lord chose to become dependent and weak as a babe (through His incarnation) to teach us that He is the King that does not mind and care for human powers or qualities of greatness. The true King desires our love! As a matter of fact, this same desire for love was again manifested at the Cross when He embraced the betrayal, cruel treatments, suffering, and death to show that He desired to give His all to us. From the Crib to the Cross, Christ‘s love for us is the same. From the humble manger to the shameful instruments of torture and death, the King of the universe tells us that He wants nothing fancy except for our genuine affection and love.
Christ gave us everything… and He desires our everything, too! Love desires love… and not just half-hearted, noncommittal, sometimes love, but total, self-giving, sacrificial, and personal love through a life of personal faith and discipleship, communal worship and service. Think about it… what can we give to the King of our hearts for the gifts given to us except our very own life and its genuine desire to have Him be the center of it all? He does not need anything else — nothing of earthly or materialistic values — just heart-to-heart, genuine, humble, self-giving, and total love!
Pope Francis said in an Advent homily: “This is the drama of today: houses full of things but empty of children, the demographic winter that we are suffering. Time is thrown away for pastimes, but there is no time for God or for others.” He added, “And when you live for things, things are never enough, greed grows and others become obstacles in the race and so you end up feeling threatened and, always dissatisfied and angry, you raise the level of hatred. ‘I want more, I want more, I want more…'” The Holy Father then challenged us, “Consumerism is a virus that afflicts faith at its root because it makes you believe that life depends only on what you have, and so you forget about God Who comes to meet you and those around you. The Lord comes, but instead, you follow the appetites that come to you; the brother knocks on your door, but he bothers you because He disturbs your plans – and this is the selfish attitude of consumerism.”
The Lord Jesus Christ had everything at His command and could choose to live as whatever He wanted, but He chose to be poor, to be near the forgotten, ignored, and abandoned. The Savior chose simplicity because He wanted our love, not just some pretentious titles, riches, wealth, or achievements. He just wants our genuine heart, love, and devotion! Therefore, let us ask ourselves… What are we look for this Christmas? What are we expecting or wanting from God and others? What are we bringing to the manger to offer to the newborn King? What are we going to share with others after this Mass? Furthermore, how will you and I let our Christmas joy be permeated and integrated into our everyday living? Will our faith and worship become a regular part of life, sometimes, or only once in a while?
There are a lot of things to reflect upon and to think about. Therefore, I will keep this reflection short so you can take the time to pray about what is Christmas means for us. We do have a choice! We can all make changes so Christ is the center of our lives and our faith is renewed and enlivened in our life of worship, prayer, and exchanges with one another.
His love for us is truly beyond words and measures, from the Crib to the Cross, from the Cross to the Grave, and from the Grave to the Heaven.
Wishing you and your family a blessed and merry Christmas filled with His love!