For a lot of people, the Christmas season is not the most wonderful time of the year. It’s a time of loneliness and isolation and time when feelings of alienation and shame make themselves known.
I like this Christmas letter from Father Clay, reminding us that God is in all of us. Merry Christmas. However you spent this holiday season, I hope you can feel God’s love deep inside and that we can all go into 2021 able to find a deeper sense of connectedness.
The Wonder and Nobility of Us All
As we approach Christmas, we are reminded that God is enfleshed. God is part and parcel of our human condition. God is not a stranger to us. This exciting and humbling mystery is pointed to by the doctrine that Jesus is human and divine. We cannot fully understand this mystery with our minds, but we can know enough to allow it to touch our lives.
This mystery about Jesus also reminds us that God is enfleshed in each one of us. Our Christian tradition says that the way that God is enfleshed in Jesus is special, but that does not do away with the mystery that God is enfleshed in us. The Eastern Church echoes this by saying that spiritual growth is divinization (becoming more and more like God).
In John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.” The people then pick up stones to throw at him. Then Jesus asks why they want to stone him. They reply, “You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God.” Recalling Psalm 82, Jesus responds, “It is written in your own law that God said, ‘You are Gods.'”
We also gain insight into Jesus’ mind when he taught his disciples to pray. He tells them to say “Our Father” (Abba). He told them to relate to Abba as he did. Jesus realized that we all are daughter sand sons of God.
It is hard for us to appreciate the wonder and nobility of who we are and what we are called to be. This is understandable because of our human limitations, mistakes, twistedness and sin. Yet under all of that is the beauty and goodness that is God enfleshed in each one of us.
As we begin to realize this, we will begin to love ourselves, our behavior will change, and we will love more and more people. We will be able to love people who are very different from us because we will see through the differences to the core. We will begin to appreciate the goodness in them as we appreciate the goodness in ourselves.
This seems impossible. As we surrender to the Love that moves the sun and the other stars, Love will accomplish in us what we could not do ourselves.
Smile God Loves You.
Letter from Surrounded by Love by Father John Clay, (c) 2005