In some homes by now the tree has been taken down, perhaps decorations put away. Stores are advertising year-end sales. Some people have already bought presents and cards for next year at significant savings. In the church it is still Christmas. We have 12 precious days to focus on the wonder of God’s love and what it means.
Although many will be glad to see the old year pass away, especially with its turmoil, terror, and upheaval, we can greet the New Year with something more than relief. We can with joy celebrate what we asked for in Advent: Emmanuel—God with us!
This is what the Christ did for us at Christmas. The Word, the Creator at the beginning of time, became flesh and lived among us. He placed his bed among our beds. He ate, and slept, got thirsty and tired. He made friends and lost them. He was admired, he was reviled, he was betrayed. Those who were there, those who saw him, touched him and were in turn touched by him and restored to life. Whatever we are or will be, we have always been the people whom God loved.
On the Mystery of the Incarnation
It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,