THE PASSERBY | Christmas and our rebirth

CHRISTMAS is, of course, about the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is such a beautiful event that, thanks to God, we still like to romanticize to the hilt. But no matter how much romance and fantasy we put in there, we know that we actually can never fully fathom the tremendous wonder that this event brings about, since the whole thing is a mystery.

Christmas is about God’s great and overwhelming love for us. It is about God who by becoming man adapts himself to us to recover our lost dignity as his image and likeness, adopted children of his,
meant to share in his very life and nature. It is about God lowering himself to raise us up to where he wants us to be. It is a completely gratuitous love that we should also learn to develop in ourselves.

Pope Francis recently has written about how wonderful it would be if we continue to put the nativity scene in our homes and in many other places. In it, he explained the symbolism attached to the
different characters and elements we like to put in the crèche. He is encouraging us to do our prayer and meditation in front of the crèche.

It might be good to go through that document and transmit its message vigorously to a world that is showing signs of losing its religious moorings. We cannot deny that with our world becoming more
and more technology-immersed, somehow the attractiveness of the mystery of Christmas is undermined. We have to counter this trend.

Yes, with the rapid technological development today, people, especially the young, tend to be overly immersed in the earthly, material and temporal things in our life, at the expense of the spiritual and supernatural dimensions of our life. They tend to be more self-oriented rather than others-oriented which is what is ideal for us, since we are meant for loving.

To counter this tendency, we have to be with Christ. And Christmas is a very good occasion to achieve that ideal. Christmas should mean to us as Christ wanting to be born in us, so that we that
we can be born again into the life of grace, into the very life of Christ, which we lost through our sin, both the original and the personal.

Christmas is a time of rebirth, of another conversion so that our identification with Christ, the pattern of our humanity and savior of our damaged humanity, becomes ever tighter. We have to realize ever more deeply that we need to be reborn. We have to do whatever is needed to make this need felt sharply by us. We cannot deny that today’s conditions seem to desensitize us of this most basic
need of ours.

Precisely for his purpose, Christ made himself so easily available to us that he makes himself not only present to us up to now, but to give himself to us completely especially in the sacrament
of the Holy Eucharist.

To be reborn in Christ, who is our “way, truth and life,” to be “alter Christus” if not “ipse Christus” (another Christ, Christ himself) as we ought to be, is not a pipe dream. Christ is all there
for the taking.

And as St. Paul also asserted, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may
be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4,11-13)

Let us learn to feel at home with this tremendous truth about ourselves and start to do something to conform our life to this truth of our faith!

Merry Christmas to one and all!