It is hard for me to believe that Advent is upon us—especially with the news of so many terrorist attacks in the past weeks. I find I am looking forward to this time of year even more, in light of the horrors of the world, because of its focus on the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.
Were it not for our belief in the Incarnation, I would not be a Christian. The God who became human is the only God I can truly worship. Because God became fully human, God knows what our sufferings feel like—as well as our joys. By becoming a creature, the Creator hallowed (made holy) creation.
We might seek to get away from the commercialization of Christmas, run away from the world. But the coming of the One we will celebrate at Christmas reminds us that it is not in escape from the world that we find God, but in engagement with the world in God’s name.
Fr. Andrew Greeley writes,
“It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…”
I pray that this Advent season will be, for all of us, a time of reflection, of drawing nearer to God as God draws near to us in Jesus Christ. May we remember that we are blessed in order to be a blessing.