The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
“Rejoice! For a child is born!” These were my thoughts three weeks ago when my sister called me. She and her newborn were (are) happy and healthy. And of course, proud uncle-father that I am, I have spent the last three weeks showing pictures of my newest niece to anyone who stops long enough for me to pull out my phone. Rejoice, for a child is born! Proud and giddy, with giggles and smiles ready, I cannot wait to meet her, to hold her! But I must pause, somberly, and ask myself: whether or not I bear the same attitude towards Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas?
Christmas celebrates more than a birthday. It celebrates salvation and redemption! It celebrates God’s love! “The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: ‘In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.’ (1 Jn 4:9) ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ (Jn 3:16)” (see CCC 458).
Puer natus est, nobis. A child is born for us. The child, Jesus, God-is-with-us, Emmanuel changes everything. God arrives on earth and becomes one of us. He humbles himself to share in our humanity so that we might share in his divinity. God arrives on earth to be, literally, with us. God comes to his people, so that he can be with you and me; God comes to his people, so that you and me can be with him. God comes to free us from the bondage of our sins. He is our Savior because he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This child, Jesus born of Mary changes everything because he is God who has come to visit and be with his people. My heart is moved by the thought of my little niece coming to visit me. May your hearts and mine be moved by the knowledge that God comes to live with us. May each of us respond to the mercy of the Nativity with love and joy as we celebrate Christmas this year.
Copyright Fr. Chuck Schwartz
Fr. Chuck Schwartz is priest of the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Ordained in 2013, he is currently the associate pastor at St. Mary – St. Paul Parish in Big Rapids, MI and involved in campus ministry at Ferris State University.