Fr Luke A Veronis

God became one of us. The Almighty Creator of the Universe took on human flesh. The Son of
God became a newborn infant in Bethlehem. The One who has no beginning and no end entered
into time and space to not only live among us, but to actually become one of us, a part of the
human race! The unapproachable One – the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,
the great I AM – becomes approachable.

On Christmas day, we don’t simply celebrate a cute little children’s story about Mary and Joseph
traveling to Bethlehem and finding no room, taking refuge in a cave with the sheep and donkeys,
giving birth to a newborn infant whose birth is heralded by angels from heaven proclaiming
Good News of Great Joy to the shepherds out in the fields. This part of the Christmas story is a
magical story and we delight in recalling it again and again. Last Sunday, the children of our
Sunday School put together a beautiful Christmas pageant that made us all smile and feel warm
and fuzzy as we watched our little children dress up as cute sheep and precious angels, while our
older youth acted out as the wise Magi and wondrous Shepherds.

As charming and delightful as the Christmas story is, however, and as much of a joyful and
festive holiday as we make this season – with jubilant parties and loving, family gatherings – we
must never lose sight of what we actually celebrate today, on this Nativity of Jesus Christ.

We remember nothing less than an earth-shattering event; a revolution that changed human
history; an occurrence so great that it fundamentally altered the lives and the trajectory of life for
millions of people throughout history; an event so amazing that it can still radically change and
transform the lives of people today, including the lives of each one of us.

That is, if we allow it. If we understand it. If we embrace the Christmas mystery and if we truly
invite the newborn child to be born anew in our own lives, to not only be born in us but to live
and reign in our lives. If we allow His story to become a central part of our life story, our lives
will never be the same!

So, what happened on Christmas day? And what are Christmas’s incomparable consequences
that await each one of us?

Saint John of Kronstadt, the 20 th century Russian spiritual giant, described Christmas this way:

The Word of God became flesh. The Son of God - co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit -
became human. The One who has no beginning entered the world and became one of us. Why?
Because He could not bear to see the entire human race, which He had created and endowed
with wondrous gifts, enslaved by the devil and the forces of darkness.

He became one of us in order to turn earthly beings into heavenly ones.
He became one of us in order to make us sinners into saints.
He became one of us in order to raise us from earth to heaven.
He became one of us in order to free us from the enslavement of sin and give us freedom as
children of God.

He became one of us to deliver us from death and to life immortal.
He became one of us to make us children of God who sit with Him upon His eternal Throne
He became one of us to deify our human nature through His divine compassion.
He became one of us to purify what is defiled in us.
He became one of us to heal what is sick and broken in each of us.
He became one of us to give boundless honor to those of us in dishonor.
He became one of us to enlighten by Divine Grace those of us who live in darkness.
He became one of us to adorn with Divine Glory those of us who are naked and wounded by
our sins and passions.
He became one of us satiate our hungry and thirsty souls with His Divine Word and His life-
giving Body ad Blood.
He became one of us so that we could become one with Him.

Christmas is this earth-shattering event, this revolution that changed human history, an event that
can change and transform the lives of each one of us today!

Yet, how do we respond to Christmas? What are we supposed to do? Will we simply go home
and open presents under the Christmas tree? Will we simply gather with our family and friends
and enjoy a day of love and fellowship with our dear ones? Will we simply enjoy the Christmas
lights and joyful spirit, but tomorrow return to our normal, broken lives giving all our attention to
the upcoming New Year’s celebration and getting on with life as usual?

Christmas, if we understand it for what it is, demands a response! How will we respond? Will we
seriously ponder these words of St. John of Kronstadt and reflect on what we must do to
experience fullness of Christmas and experience all the reasons why God became one of us?

Think for a moment about how the Magi - the Wise Men from the East, those scientists and
priests not from the people of God, who did not fully understand what the star in the heavens was
telling them – think for a moment about how they responded! They understood that some
mystery, something completely unusual was happening. They interpreted that a divine sign was
given to them and they willingly accepted to follow the star, wherever it would lead, even though
they had no idea what the journey would entail and the dangers they would encounter.

Maybe they knew of the prophecies of Daniel from the time he was in Babylon, or maybe they
realized God’s Spirit speaking to them through the heavens and this unusual star, but whatever
they reason, they responded and sought for answers from this Divine Mystery. They accepted an
arduous, dangerous, and long journey which included countless sacrifices to discover the Truth.
And when they came before a newborn king in a manger in Bethlehem, they offered the best of
what they had – priceless gold for a king, fragrant frankincense for worshipping a God, and
priceless myrrh for the immortal and eternal One.

The Magi offer an example for us to follow. If we want to discover the mystery of Christmas and
understand the response it demands, then we are to also seek with all our heart, to sacrifice our
comforts and pleasures, to accept an arduous journey throughout our lives, to discover our divine
purpose, and to encounter the Treasure in Bethlehem, offering the best of all we have.

To fully experience the Amazing Grace of God that comes to earth on Christmas day, we need to
cultivate our faith in the Son of God, we need to embrace His divine teachings of salvation as the
guide and cornerstone in our lives, we need to repent from our sinful actions and harmful habits,
turning back toward God in our everyday living, we need to commune with Him each day
through a vibrant prayer life and in the sacramental life of the Church, and we need to nurture
and develop the Christian virtues of humility, love, gratitude, generosity, purity, chastity,
simplicity, and goodness of heart.

As St John of Kronstadt advises us, “Let us bring these virtues as a gift to the One who was born
for our salvation, offering these virtues in place of the gold, frankincense and myrrh which the
Magi brought Him. This shall be the most pleasing form of offering to God and the infant Jesus

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

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