Marie-Celine Miranda, O.S.U.

Christmas is coming. Time to celebrate.

What are we really celebrating? All the stores seem to be celebrating, but people these days look pretty bushed, as far as I can see.

It’s the birth of a baby, a long time ago.

For a baby born a long time ago it’s a pretty big celebration—all over the world, it seems.

Well, this baby grew up to be Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, God in the flesh.

God? Such a tiny bundle – six and a half pounds, maybe? God? God? Can any human being be more vulnerable than a newborn? They need to be fed, to be washed, to be clothed, to be changed. They need to be held, to be carried, to be protected, all the time. They can’t do anything for themselves. That’s not my idea of God.

Ah, there’s the wonder of it, the mystery of it. Remember hearing this? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And a little further on in the same sacred book, “And the Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us.”

Hmm, yes, I remember hearing all that. But it doesn’t say anything about a baby.

True enough. But think a little more. “Flesh” can mean many things. And you yourself hit on one of the most human: vulnerable. Our God, becoming enfleshed, took on vulnerability. In the beginning of his human life, as an infant, as helpless as any other. And in fact, Jesus never outgrew it. Death came to him on a cross, nailed— vulnerable to the end.

That is certainly nothing to celebrate.

Agreed. Not the cross. But go back to your first question: What are we really celebrating?

Somehow, from somewhere, it’s coming to me that it must be love—a crazy, almost unbelievable love, from a God who could want so much that his creatures would know he loved them that he emptied himself, became one with them—with us—took on our weakness, and what better testimony of that than the form of a baby.

I think you’ve got it. And now, let’s celebrate.

Merry Christmas!