“‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (Jn 1:14). These words, that never cease to amaze us, contain the whole of Christianity! God became mortal, fragile like us, he shared in our human condition, except for sin, but he took ours upon himself, as though they were his own… The birth of Jesus, then, shows us that God wanted to unite himself to every man and every woman, to every one of us, to communicate to us his life and his joy.” -Pope Francis
On Christmas Day, “the Father’s only Son,” the Word, Jesus Christ, Click to view and print this reflectionis made flesh and makes “his dwelling among us.” The world has never been and can never be the same. What is the cause of this miraculous event? God’s love for humanity, which seeks to restore us to friendship with Him and invites us to become His sons and daughters. After four weeks of preparation throughout the Advent season, God’s people have been made ready once more to welcome their King.
Over these past four weeks, we have reflected on the Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service, on the Gospel readings for each Sunday of Advent, and on what it means to be a person for others. We have prepared in darkness, so to speak, awaiting the coming of the light that is Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate he “who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation.”
This is the message of the Christmas season – one that we are called to bring to our families, workplaces, parishes, and communities—that God “has spoken to us through the Son” who “made his dwelling among us” remembering “his kindness and his faithfulness.” What a beautiful message for our aching and broken world – so filled with darkness and often lacking in hope! Pope Francis said in his 2015 Christmas homily, “The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature; no longer are we alone and forsaken.” God himself announces peace and offers us good news. He meets us in our brokenness.
I would like to spend a few moments reflecting on the richness of the words from today’s readings. Perhaps they have become stale or seemingly commonplace over the years. God has directly intervened in our world to change the narrative of sin and death to one of hope and resurrection! Unlike the Israelite people, who waited for centuries for the coming of the Messiah, we live in a world that has seen the salvation of God. We have the capacity to reap the fruits of God’s salvific work and can call Him “Abba, Father.”
It is Jesus Christ who reveals mankind to himself. We are called to model Him, who made His dwelling among us, by making our dwelling amidst the brokenness of our world and offering our brothers and sisters Christ’s salvation. We can do this through the Four Pillars mentioned throughout this guide: Spirituality, Simplicity, Social Justice, and Community. It is when we bring Christ to dwell in the world that we discover who we are.
This year, I invite you to reflect upon these beautiful readings in the light of Christ’s coming. Who are we in God’s eyes? How can we become a people who bring Christ to others? What can we do to show others that they are no longer alone and forsaken?
Our Advent journey does not end on Christmas Day. Let us move forward carrying the light of Christ and continuing to make his dwelling in the world with our works of service and charity. As you continue your spiritual journey, we invite you to visit the Catholic Apostolate Center’s many free resources on Advent, prayer, discernment, Catholic Social Teaching, and much more. Let us look to Mary, the first to truly allow Christ to dwell within her, and ask her to be our model for our life of discipleship. With her, let us “sing joyfully before the King, the Lord” who dwells among his people.
Kate Fowler is the Blog Editor for the Catholic Apostolate Center. She received her Master’s in Leadership for the New Evangelization from the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado.