the mystery of the incarnation

by Reason2bCatholic

The Incarnation is such a great and marvellous mystery.  With the firmness of faith we Christians believe God – who breathed all things into creation – entered into space and time as a gentle, innocent, and defensely baby.  Yet how could this be?  How could the long-awaited Messiah foretold by the Jewish prophets come in this way?  How could the warrior-king, the one promised to liberate his people from centuries of oppression and occupation enter our world at the far corners of a Jewish outpost, born of a poor family, with no place to lay his head?

The answer:  God wills to love because love is the essence of his being.  Love is how he entered our world.  Love is how he departed.  In his infinite goodness we are invited into his mystery of Love – the mystery of who God is – for eternity.

Rembrandt, The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634

Love bounded onto the stage he breathed into motion long ago.  From a formless void he makes order out of the chaos of creation, making all things beautiful.  The moon, the stars, all the heavens proclaim God’s majesty.  Then, in the fullness of time, he came to fulfill the promise, “The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see the salvation of our God” (Is 40:5).   Outside of time and space, he entered time and space, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14), because he could keep silent no longer.

Our God comes, he keeps silence no longer.”

Psalm 50:3

Yet, he who could keep silent no longer, chose to come in silence.  He entered into the world in the middle of the night, imperceptible to only but a few:  Shepherds greeted by an angel, wise-men familiar with the prophetic signs, a poor carpenter and his wife in search of rest.

When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land. And as he alighted…, he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.”

Wisdom 18:14-15, 16b
Adoration of the Shepherds by Dutch painter Matthias Stomer, 1632

This first silent night was heralded by a chorus of angels who would proclaim Emmanuel – God with us – has arrived.  He is the Prince of Peace coming, not for war in the earthly sense, but to enter silently, secretly, without fanfare.  This warrior-king with an army not of this world, prepared for spiritual warfare, is establishing his kingdom.  On the day of this king’s birth a kingdom of salvation has clandestinely come to the world.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing ….

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!”

Isaiah 9:1-6

On this silent night, this holy night, let us consider:  The God of creation – the God who breathed us into existence – invites us to throw off the darkness that envelopes us.  In a world mired in sin, God discreetly entered, and from the Virgin Mary’s womb he entered into our fallen world to restore man’s fallen nature.  Behold, one day, this babe in a manger – the Lion of Judah – will be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

In the sin and dysfunction of our own lives today he invites us to no longer walk in darkness but to see a great light.  We must answer his call.  We must join the fight.  This is God’s will for you and for me.

Peace be with you!

Disciple of Christ | Son of the Church

Only if people change, will the world change; and in order to change, people need the light that comes from God, the light which so unexpectedly [on the night of Christmas] entered into our night.”

Pope Benedict XVI
The Nativity, National Gallery of Art of Venetian artist Lorenzo Lotto’s work.

Holy Family, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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