2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29; Luke 1:67-79
REFLECTION – Christmas Eve
Families will fill churches this Christmas Eve. The coming of Jesus just beats out the arrival of Santa. Santa brings gifts. Jesus is the gift. The incarnation and the birth of Jesus connect human and divine histories. God is among us.
On this Christmas Eve, the gospel recounts the canticle of Zechariah. Luke writes that God “has raised up a mighty savior.” This mighty savior comes to us an infant, born not of royalty but to ordinary parents, without privilege, wealth, or status. Like any newborn, Jesus is helpless and dependent. Luke recounts elsewhere that Jesus was obedient to his parents and grew in age and wisdom. Even Mary and Joseph did not know this boy’s significance. We read the Christmas narrative knowing the entire story and the salvific role of Jesus.
Perhaps we should bracket the resurrection to concentrate on the humanity of Jesus. In this we identify with him. In this, God identifies with us. For we are not called to be saviors but to be fully human as Jesus was human: to listen for God’s voice in our lives, grow in wisdom, be obedient, show mercy, forgive the sins of others, act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.
Christmas begins the story of salvation that focuses on a child who will one day eat and drink with sinners, confront injustice, inspire disciples, threaten religious authorities, lie dead in his mother’s arms. Our salvation comes in human form. God embraces the human condition so that we may have a sterling example of how to be human.
Chester Gillis is Dean of the College.