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Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more?

Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more? Dr. Seuss “The Grinch that Stole Christmas” That little bit more is a lot more that the warm and fuzzy occasion the residents of Whoville celebrate in this classic Christmas tale.

Christmas celebrates God irrevocably joining the human race. As St. John’s prologue puts it “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and different translations of this passage help us to peel back some of the shattering truth of this central mystery of our faith. “The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth lived among us.”

(Good News Bible) Eugene Peterson’s translation “The Message” puts it this way: “The Word became flesh and moved into the neighbourhood”. The original Greek is more vivid with the Word “pitching his tent among us”. This reminds us of the presence of God dwelling with the Israelites in the Tent of Meeting in the desert. This God willed to embrace the fleshiness of our humanity, to become one with us in all things except sin (Heb. 4:15). Jesus is God’s supreme self-communication to us and He takes on flesh. Flesh, all that is transitory, mortal and imperfect and, at first glance incompatible with God (Jerome Biblical Commentary) was what God embraced and has never unembraced! Do we really believe this?

Remember Moses at the burning bush being told to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground? Since God came among us and walked on this ground, ate and slept upon it, all ground is holy.

All the colored lights, decorations, Christmas trees and carols, presents, special food, even Santa, Charlie Brown and his tree, Scrooge and Tiny Tim and, yes, even the Grinch who tried to steal Christmas are all part of what might help us, who are flesh and blood, body as well as spirit, rejoice in the mystery of the incarnation. Yes, there is a lot about Christmas that is just commercialism and consumerism but there is also Emmanuel - God-with-us, reminding us that we are loved, that God has come to us in all the vulnerability of a baby, that God has not given up on our world. Our hopes are grounded in this miracle.

By Sr.Trina Bottos, Sister of St. Joseph of Sault Ste. Marie

Originally published as President’s Message in the Newsletter of the Federation of the Sisters of Joseph of Canada. Used with Permission.

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