Reflecting on the miracle of Christmas, Pope Francis once said, “The birth of Jesus brings us the good news that we are loved immensely and uniquely by God, and he not only enables us to know this love, but he also gives it to us; he communicates it to us!” (General Audience, December 18, 2013).
Let’s take our cue from the Holy Father and try to imagine the scene. Here is the eternal Son of God in heaven, surrounded by angels, filled with divine glory and majesty. He has everything and needs absolutely nothing. Yet he relinquishes his place and his power to come walk among us. He who ruled the entire universe chose to submit himself to a human body—for our sake.
Why would he do this? Why would Jesus choose such a humble, selfless way to come to us? As Pope Francis sees it, the answer is simple: love. Jesus came to us as a man because he wanted to show us how much he loves us and how valuable we are to him.
This Advent, we want to focus on this promise that we are “loved immensely and uniquely” by God. We want to look at how an experience of God’s love can open our spiritual eyes and fill us with joy and peace. And to do this, we will look at how God worked in Mary and Joseph’s lives to prepare them to welcome Jesus. We’ll see how Mary’s “yes” to the angel was a response to the grace and love God had poured into her heart. And we’ll see how Joseph, though reluctant at first, accepted God’s invitation and took up his call to become protector and guardian of the child Jesus.
All about Experience. As Pope Francis said, Jesus wants us to know his love. He wants us to experience his love, not just think about it. He wants to move our hearts so that we can say—from experience and not just theory—that God loves the world so much that he sent his only Son to be with us and rescue us from sin (John 3:16-17).
This is the gift God wants to give each of us during this Advent season. No matter how much you know—or don’t know—he wants to give you more. Maybe you feel like the shepherds, watching and waiting. Maybe you feel like Joseph, already deeply committed to the Lord and his ways. Or maybe you feel like the wise men, on the road and still searching. It doesn’t matter. God wants to open your heart and take you to a deeper level with him.
As Christmas nears, let’s try to follow Mary’s example. Let’s treasure God’s wonderful gift to us, and let’s ponder the magnitude of this gift (Luke 2:19). Let’s be like Joseph, open to the call of God upon our lives, willing to change our plans for his. Most of all, let’s ask Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God with us, to fill us with his love. From all of us at The Word Among Us, we wish you a happy and blessed Christmas.
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]