"Merry Christmas!" For the last several weeks, we have grown accustomed to this greeting or some variation; but now it seems to be late and overdue, as if we should be moving on with something else as Christmas was already two or three days ago. Certainly Christmas Day itself holds a special significance for many of us, as we have made extra efforts to be together with family and loved ones, to send Christmas cards and greetings to those further away, have more phone calls to stay in touch with those we might not see then. Depending upon our particular religious tradition, we might have attended a church service over Christmas.
Perhaps due in part to the heavily commercialized aspect of Christmas and its early promotion by the stores and malls, we have already have had our fill with Christmas and its festivities by the time it rolls around. Since we don't do well with the aspect of Advent waiting and watching, we tend to rush right through the celebration of Christmas often sooner than the actual day. Consequently, we are not well prepared for having Christmas linger over its entire period from Christmas Eve until the Baptism of the Lord on January 12th. This is certainly more than the twelve days of Christmas, which would take us to the feast of the Epiphany on January 5th this year, the celebration of the Magi / Kings / Wise Men journeying from the East to Bethlehem to see the Christ Child.
At its heart and core, Christmas celebrates the coming of the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, in human flesh in all its fullness. This mystery of the Incarnation, Jesus being born in our human nature and condition, reveals the depths of God's love and His desire that He might save us through His Son sharing in our humanity. This awesome mystery of the Word of God being born in human flesh is something worth pondering and reflecting upon gratefully over several days because it represents the final unfolding of God's plan of salvation, which will be ultimately realized in Christ's death and resurrection. But before He could lay down His life for us as a human being, Jesus had to be born and live as a human being. Jesus is truly Emmanuel, "God with us" come in human flesh.
May the mystery of this Christmas season fill our hearts and souls with the wonder of God's gracious mercy and unconditional love in so great a gift as His only begotten Son, given freely and completely for our salvation. Have a Joyous Christmas and a Blessed New Year in Christ Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer.