Our Dignity -- The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning before God began to create, before there was anything, the Word was….the Word was with God. The Word was turned toward God. The Father and the Son were embraced in love, long before anything was created. From all eternity they were Father, Son and Spirit.

In the beginning was this Word, this Logos, and through Him, through this Word of God, all things were made. There is nothing, nothing at all, that was made apart from Him. 

Through Him God created everything in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, spiritual and material. God created the whole universe through Him and for Him (Col 1:16). All beings in the heavens and on the earth and under the earth will fall on their knees and proclaim that He, the Logos is Lord (Phil 2: 10 – 11).

And whoever come to Him finds life, finds light. This eternal Word of God who always has been and always will be, came into the world to enlighten the minds of everyone who seek Him in order to lead them to the Truth.

This Word, by whom everything was made came into our world as a light, as a light penetrating into the darkness, and the darkness was not able to grasp it or snuff it out.

Even though the soldiers of Herod were searching for Him, not to worship the child but to kill Him, they were not able to do so. When the hour arrived years later for His passion and death, Satan tried to extinguish His light, but the darkness of death itself could not hold Him.

 He came into this world that was made by Him, yet the world did not recognize Him. The Word of God who was present to every mind from the beginning of creation was not recognized. He came to His own people, but they did not accept Him, but to those who did receive Him, he gave them power to be called children of God, sons and daughters of God. 

As we celebrate the birth of this child, we recognize the power of life to change others. Whatever anxieties and concerns may come, they seem for the moment to find another place. Mary and Jospeh knocked on the doors of several inns, but all the lodgings were filled. The heart and the door of the stable were open. Though there was no room up-front in the inn, there was this secret little place in the back. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep this spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year, throughout the day for just 5 minutes?

So often our lives become so filled with business, busyness at home, at work, wherever. If only Christmas peace could last forever.

Have you ever seen a baby bound up hands and feet swaddled? That’s not the baby we see in our mangers today. The baby we see is only diapered, virtually naked, because this child is the new Adam who has come to restore the grace of paradise.

This child whom we honor did not come with a ready wrapped gift of peace. He had to pay a price for that peace. The baby we see in the manger lies on wood with His hands outstretched seeking to embrace all who will come to Him.

I read this story in the paper, I wish I could say that it was mine:

As I walked down the street, I noticed a dirty, filthy guy holding a cup of coffee, screaming and yelling at someone who was not there, except in his mind. But when he spotted me, he said calmly: “Mister, do you want some of my coffee?” Cringing, I knew I would have to acknowledge the poor man’s generosity. So I took a sip, and then supposed that he wanted something from me, like a $10 bill. But he put his arms up and said: “No money! A hug. Give me a hug.” Oh I wished at the moment that he would have taken the $10. The hug was a very long-lasting bear hug! I then asked him why he had offered me a cup of coffee. He replied: “The coffee this morning is exceptionally good and when God gives you something good, you have to share it”. I could hear the voice of Jesus telling me: “feed the hungry, heal the sick, take care of the homeless, this man who has just given you an embrace of love in a bear-hug”. I then realized that we should not look at the poor with pity, but to have this eerie sensation that Jesus is looking back at me with His mercy! That’s a hug!

But not all who come will embrace Him. For the gift which He offers requires the experience of pain – and of suffering, rejection, even hatred. Years later He will again be on the wood with His arms outstretched and nailed and mocked and ridiculed until He dies. This is why the Word Became Flesh – to embrace our humanity, even death.

When we are able to see with the eyes of faith, a new dignity surrounds our home, our work, our neighborhood, and our world. Isn’t our world desperately searching for the dignity that was lost in the original garden, the dignity that this child is born to bring.

A homily by Fr. Herbert Nicholls at the Mother of Light Convent on Monday, December 31, 2018.