A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Some thoughts on the significance of Christmas

by Bill Lambert

by Bill Lambert

Cover Picture: from 'Journey to Bethlehem', by Joseph F Brickey www.josephbrickey.com (Used with permission)

It often seems that the main emphasis in relation to Christ’s earthly life is on Easter and the crucifixion, Christ dying for our sins to redeem us.

But with the celebration of Christmas just ahead, we might try to get a more balanced perspective and turn our thoughts to the incarnation - God becoming one of us so he could reveal himself to us in a way we can understand.

If you look through the psalms you get a fair idea of how the Jews saw God from the time of Abraham. They could see from the world and the skies that he was the master of creation. They knew him also as a God of love - of justice softened by compassion and mercy. Above all he was a God of laws and precepts. In addition to the Ten Commandments, the Jews had developed the detailed and complex Mosiac Law. Then the Pharisees further refined the laws into hundreds more, which were learned by heart. For the Jews religion was all about showing their love for God through respect for his laws down to the last perceived detail.

There was still the great gulf between God and us of the spiritual dimension of infinity. Our comprehension is limited to physical bounds of time and space. It is above and beyond our limited minds to comprehend God ... to feel the white heat of infinite love. The most effective way in which God could reveal himself to us so that we could know, understand and love him better, was to become one of us.

Christmas celebrates that glorious moment in the history of humankind when God became one of ourselves - someone we could know, love and learn from as a brother. The huge importance of the birth of Christ is recognised in the division of human history - BC and AD. (Today many prefer BCE - before the common era - but that’s just another sign of our secular times and prissy political correctness).

Christmas was the beginning of that new and enlightened relationship between us and our maker recorded in the New Testament, leading to the teachings and miracles of Christ, his death and resurrection.egg

Christmas had to come before mankind could hear the the most important words ever spoken: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but thorugh me.”
“The Father and I are one.”
“A new commandment I give you: love one another.”

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