Christmas is a powerful time. The story of the God who became man and came into the world may seem too familiar to us. And yet, if we let its message penetrate our celebration and prayer, we will find that beyond its potential to fill us with joy, it can transform the way in which we see ourselves, our relationships, and our sufferings. That is its purpose. We often do not realize that this event is a key part of the Great Story of humanity, the biblical story that contains the answer to the deepest questions of our existence: Why am I here? Why is everything so obviously broken? What has God done about it? What’s my purpose in life? The biblical story of salvation shows us who we are and who we are meant to be. May this Story, presented here in a summarized way, transform our worldview and our lives this Christmas season.
Why am I here?
God had no need to create us. He made the universe and us out of love, to share with us his glory, majesty and fullness. In order to do so, he made us in his image and likeness, as the book of Genesis tells us. He gave us the use of reason, and the ability to love and be free. In other words, he created us because he desires our happiness, he desires abundant life for us. Thus, he made all things good.
What went wrong?
And yet, when we look around and see the brokenness of our world, we can’t help but wonder, “If God created all things good, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? What went wrong?” Genesis 3 gives us the answer: man has an enemy. Satan, envious of the glory God had prepared for humankind, set out to corrupt his plan. He tempted our first parents, Adam and Eve, and they fell and sinned. From then on, humankind was bound to carry the consequence of their fall — sin and death. Humanity had been captured by the devil, and fear and suffering seemed to hold the last word.
What has God done about it?
After carrying out his plan, Satan awaited God’s response: it would surely be loud and impressive. Instead, God launched a secret counter assault to rescue us. For centuries, he prepared the way for his coming, and on the appointed day, he came into the world as a humble and defenseless child, born in poverty to the little-known Mary and Joseph. In this way, by being human in every way like us, except in sin, he was able to take up Sin and Death and destroy them in his death on the cross and his resurrection. His victory tells us that God has not abandoned us, but that he loves us to point of dying for us. His resurrection shows us that death no longer has the final word, that life has meaning and that only in him we can live life to the fullest.
What’s my role in this Story?
We know that God became man and died for us, but what does this mean for each one of us? How can we respond to what God has done out of love to rescue us? First, we must allow this Story to transform our worldview. We will only understand our part in it if we look at our life and the world through the lens of God’s plan for humanity. This Story allows us to discover who we really are and who we are called to be.
The appropriate response to God’s act of love is a complete surrender to him. We must live in such a way that Christ becomes the guide of our lives. He instituted the Church and the sacraments to help us make this a reality. He gave us the sacraments to encounter him and his mercy and receive the grace necessary along the journey. Our response as members of the Church must lead us to a life of prayer, community, and mission. This Christmas, let us welcome Christ into our hearts and help us reacquire a biblical worldview. Only thus will we see the precious gift of our life as God sees it.