Christmas reflection – the Word becomes flesh

With the birth of Jesus, the many words of the Bible became a living person, Jesus Christ the ultimate divine communication who is the Word of God.

By John O’Connor 

It is appropriate that we celebrate this event with Christmas gatherings and vacations, with friends and family and food and drink. But most often and too quickly when the work and study year resumes these good times become a fading memory and we long for the next reprieve from the routines and demands of daily life.

The Good News is that there is a way to live beyond the stress that surrounds us, and this is found in the Word who is more present with us today than he was in that Bethlehem stable.

When the shepherds and magi visited the new-born Jesus, they encountered a human baby whom they recognised to be God. Over the next three decades many others also met him, hearing him speak and witnessing his miracles. A few recognised him. Some were momentarily curious. Most were too caught up in their own fears and compulsions to notice that, in Jesus, God was speaking a new Word, doing a new thing among them. Jesus’ mission of comforting the afflicted naturally afflicted the comfortable who responded by putting him to death.

But the divine plan moved to an even more remarkable stage and God raised Jesus from death, providing the precedent of abundant life to everyone who accepts this gift.

Our annual celebration of Christmas is not simply a remembering of an historical birth, but a rejoicing that our human experience of life, suffering and death awakens the invitation from God to abundant life for all people both now and eternally.

John O’Connor is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Christchurch and author of the mission.

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