|Rosary window, St Joseph and Francis, Xavier, Richmond : The Nativity (Joyful Mysteries)|
“God became man so that man might become God.” The famous words of St Athanasius which express the splendour of this Holy Night. It’s a statement that almost seems wrong! True, we can’t become the Holy Trinity; we cannot change from being a finite human being to being God who is infinite. But by God taking on human nature we’re able to share Divine nature; we are united to God. Christ is whom we call the Mediator between God and man. He humbles Himself to become one of us, in order that we may share His glory. This is the awesome reality we contemplate as we gaze upon the crib at the Son of God made man, the tiny child of Bethlehem.
From the manger, Christ the Light shines out in the darkness, we see the perfect image of God. And, too, we see the perfect man, the First born of all creation.
The Mystery of the Incarnation reveals to us that only in the Christ child do we discover the dignity of the human person – which is to share in the glory of God. Saint John Paul II taught that human nature, assumed by the Son of God, “has been raised in us…to a dignity beyond compare.” (Redemptor Homines, 8)
This year, people have been shaken. With the pandemic, humanity has been disorientated. But with the Solemnity of Christmas, human life is given a firm anchor who is Christ, who reveals our dignity to us as sons and daughters of God destined to partake in His glory. Of course, we take prudent measures to help protect ourselves and others from illness. But we must not become obsessed with a pandemic. We mustn’t fall into the trap of understanding and directing our lives by disease prevention. Only in God-made-man do we find the meaning and fulfilment of our lives. As the Second Vatican Council taught: “Only in the mystery of the Incarnation does the mystery of man take on light.” Only in Christ do we discover God’s plan for our salvation. As we heard in our second reading from St Paul to Titus, God’s grace has been revealed and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race.”
Tonight, we hear and take to heart the words of the Angel Gabriel to the Shepherds tonight: “Do not be afraid.” For in the Christ-child of Bethlehem we find the fulfilment of our life – the Saviour who will lead us to be like God.