Christmas: A Celebration of Divine Love

December 25, 2023

Every year, Christians commemorate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, a time cherished for its traditions and the profound message of love and peace it carries. But what does the birth of Jesus truly signify? In the Gospel of Luke, we find the narrative of his birth, yet in John's Gospel, it's illuminated that Jesus's birth signified God assuming human form. John's Gospel opens with the words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) It further states: "The Word became flesh; and so he dwelt among us." (John 1:14). This essence underlines the original meaning of the Christmas celebration: God became human and lived among us.

The incarnation of Jesus—God made man—is an embodiment of love. As the Second person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God took on human form. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, underscores this by stating, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness.” (Phil. 2:6-7) This act symbolizes the union of divinity and humanity in Jesus.

Why did God become man or send His Son into the world? The frailty and mortality of humans, beset by sin and decay, needed redemption. Peter's second letter speaks of being delivered from the corruption of the world, emphasizing the divine nature offered through God's grace. God sent Jesus to redeem us from sin's bondage and grant us eternal life. John's Gospel reaffirms this: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life...." (Jn. 3:16)

Man, fashioned in God's image, lost his dignity due to sin. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, acknowledges this struggle of wanting to do right yet falling short. Jesus became human to restore this lost honour and to reconcile humanity with its divine essence.

The separation from God caused by sin led to vulnerability. Paul's letter to the Romans underscores this, stating that those who follow the flesh cannot accept God. God becoming man aimed to bridge this gap and redeem us from this injustice.

By willingly embracing human experience, God comprehended our joys and sorrows. God becoming man signifies the revelation of His boundless and unconditional love for humankind. The celebration of Christmas marks this profound act of love—an event that reminds us that God dwells within us.

The humility and simplicity surrounding Jesus's birth in a manger, witnessed by shepherds and scholars alike, signify His arrival for all. Christmas isn't merely a festivity; it embodies a life steeped in humility, love, peace, and forgiveness. The modesty enveloping Jesus's birth underscores the purest form of love. Christmas gains deeper significance when Jesus is born in the depths of our hearts, transforming it into a celebration of love.

The spirit of Christmas isn't solely about revelry and customs but encapsulates the divine love revealed in Jesus's birth—an enduring occurrence that calls humanity to embrace love, compassion, and unity. Christmas provides an opportunity for personal transformation.

Just as Jesus's birth brought renewal to humanity, this festive season invites us to reflect on our lives. It's a time to let go of resentments, embrace forgiveness, and foster reconciliation. The birth of Jesus symbolizes a chance for each individual to start anew, guided by love and forgiveness.

By Br John Malvino Alfonso OCD
Br John Malvino Alfonso OCD is a member of the Karnataka-Goa Province of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites based at Divine Springs Retreat Centre, Xellim, Canacona Goa.
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