But you can always argue that Christmas goes until the Feast of the Purification on Feb 2. At any rate, the tree is still up at our house…
“In the beginning,” says St. John, “was the Word.” This Word he’s speaking of is the 2nd person of the Trinity, who on Christmas day takes on human flesh to become the Savior of the world. It might help us to think back to exactly what a word in the mouth of God can accomplish. In the beginning, God said, “Let there be…” and a universe sprang into being out of nothing. God’s word is a creative force, it goes forth from his lips and what he says becomes reality. This makes sense when we think of the power that even the words we speak can unleash. Sadly, I cannot say “let there be” like a magic genie and create whatever I want, but if I speak negatively of someone or take a harsh tone, it really has an effect both on the person I’m speaking to and on my own soul.
The 2nd person of the Trinity, The Word, is much better suited to it than I would be. He never speaks a harsh word. In fact, his very existence is to speak salvation. It’s a strange thing to think about at Christmas with all the warm and fuzzies of the nativity and the baby and Santa, but Jesus wasn’t born for sentimental reasons, he was born to put his words in action by dying on the Cross for our sins. We can make much of the fact that he took his first nap in a feeding trough, a manger, in a town called Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread”, and so he is already, from the beginning, the Bread of Life, the Eucharist. His whole life speaks of sacrificial love. He is what he says, and what he says becomes reality.
So, if Jesus Christ, the tiny baby in a manger, is The Word who brings a new reality, then it is true that this child marks a revolution at the very foundation of the universe. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and nothing will ever be the same.
This is what we celebrate at Christmas, a heavenly communication, a God who is shouting at us with his whole being to direct us home. His words are mercy, and joy, and self-sacrifice as the noblest expression of human love and dignity. He speaks of the inexhaustible faithfulness of the God who, rather than losing us to hell, would rather humiliate himself by becoming like us so that he might die in our place, so that he might one day be reunited with us.
It is good that we are clear about this message, because we all need to hear it over and over. God has come to find you. He loves you. And he is speaking to you. To those who are sorrowing, he comes to weep with you. He comes for the children whose innocence means so much to him. To those who worry that they are sinners, he comes to with forgiveness and mercy. Even to those who have told him they have no room for him in their lives, he is here.
If you haven’t heard that yet this Christmas or for a long time, know that it is true and everything God says is genuine. Today is the celebration of a God whose words bring about what they say. He says he loves us, his birth at Christmas is the follow-through, and the Cross and Resurrection are the proof that his love isn’t vain, but it can redeem lives. It can change the world. Each Christmas, like each day, is a new beginning. What is God saying to you today?