The Church has been reminding us for the past four weeks to prepare ourselves to receive the gift that God has given us in Bethlehem. God our Creator, Savior and Sanctifier, loved us so much that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish, but have eternal life.
It is at the moment that Mary receives the message from the Archangel Gabriel and surrenders to God’s will for her life that the miracle of Christmas begins to take place.
It is the miracle of God’s love for us that touches our innermost being. It is then that we are called to know God in Jesus Christ, and believe in him as someone we know intimately, whose promise is worthy of our trust, as well as our personal investment and commitment.
The miracle of Christmas lies in our believing that the Savior of the world has been born in Bethlehem, born of the Virgin Mary, and that Mary’s son, Jesus, is indeed Emmanuel, “God with us.”
The outward and visible sign of this miracle of God’s love is the miracle of our transformation, as we begin to trust that God cares for all of us—friends, strangers, even enemies—and for all our loved ones, both those we still see around us in this life, and those who are now gone from us here, but know the strength of God’s presence and rejoice in his eternal glory.
Christmas is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the popular song proclaims, but not simply because of presents, decorations and parties, much as we anticipate and enjoy these good gifts. It is because this season reminds us to claim our gift from the Holy Child, the gift of what humanity can be if we reach out to God to transform our lives and our dealings with each other. Christmas can be a light in the midst of the darkness of our being, guiding us to reach out for the goodness that often remains hidden by the shadows of our daily lives. Knowing that God has entered our world as a helpless human infant, born in the poorest surroundings, reminds us that every life is precious, and that we are bound to each other in our humanity as brothers and sisters.
Let’s rejoice in this time, knowing that God is with us in Christ, and that we are his forever.
+Leo Frade, Bishop of Southeast Florida