Four Reasons for Christmas

Last advent was amazing. I journaled on the daily mass readings. Every. Single. Day.

This advent I have slacked so much that I know I haven't given enough attention to the reason for the season. Insert the part where I just backspaced all of the justification and excuses I've made about how busy I am and why my prayer is lacking. Now with this post coming up for Christmas Eve, I guess I have decided it's better late than never.

Though I'm behind, I want to fully enter in to the mystery of God becoming man. I want to contemplate the gravity of the Word made flesh who is from eternity to eternity and still entered time and space, and what purpose He had in doing so, and the implications that has on my self-absorbed life and on humanity. Maybe you are like me and you are making up for lost time. If you feel like the "reason for the season" has become cliche, or you are like me in wanting something deeper and more meaningful especially during a commercialized holiday that trivializes a holy day, then you will join me in finding solace from the Catechism.

Here is the actual reason for the season, the four purposes of the Incarnation:

The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”.
— CCC 457

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?

Dang. Could those questions be more convicting? This same paragraph appears in my previous post because it's hard for one to truly exhaust the profundity of salvation in Jesus Christ and the means He took to give it to us. Just reread those questions one more time. Or the whole paragraph. The Church's words are so rich and definitely hard to follow with such inadequate and unnecessary commentary. (I'll try to refrain on the next one).

The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: ‘In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.’ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’
— CCC 458

Jesus came into the world in such a humble, simple way, not with wrath, vengeance, glory, mastery in order that we would know that God is a loving, intimate, and personal God and his love is for us. What is more tender, gentle, loving, or cherished than an infant? Jesus reveals to us who our Father is.

The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!” Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.
— CCC 459

Jesus comes to lead us and show us how to live. God created us, so he knows us better than we know ourselves. God HAD to become man to basically show us how it's done. If only I could take the not-so-subtle hint, and not take my Christianity for granted. I am a Christ-follower.

The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’: ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’ ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.’ ‘The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.’
— CCC 460

Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Aquinas kicking heresy in the face with this one. Jesus came into the world for us to partake in His divine nature. This means that He came with a mission to help us to become more like Him and to commune with Him. If it's not ringing any bells at this point, this means that Jesus came to give us the Sacraments! He came so that we would be able to partake in His Divine Life! When we approach Him in the Sacraments We dwell in Him and He dwells in us. The Incarnational mystery is the mystery of mutual indwelling between the Lover and the beloved, between Him and us. We need His life within us. His coming to Earth was a mission for the whole future of the Earth and the people in it. It doesn't end here. The Sacramental life promises us that our humanity isn't destined to die, but with divine life offered to us now, we have the hope to partake in His Divine life for eternity. What wondrous love is this!?

Emmanuel. God is with us. I pray that you and I are able to sink deeply into the mystery of Jesus entering the world as the Lover coming to rescue His beloved and his mission to bring us into Himself in intimate, personal encounter, mutual indwelling. May this Christmas be filled with joy and peace at the coming of so great a Savior!

Thy Kingdom Come!

P.S. Let's break open these four paragraphs a bit more in the comments below. Spend some time reflecting back on them and post what comes to mind. Thoughts, questions, other Scriptures, Catechism paragraphs, or stories. Let's share in community over these four chunks of the catechism. We read and reply to all the comments!

Sarah Spies is a youth minister in Houston, but is a closet hippie from Austin as is evidenced by her essential oils in her purse, and her dancing bare feet. She and her fiancee crave Gospel poverty--the simple life, and spiritual freedom. You can follow her --- outside. 


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