Most Rev Anthony Randazzo, Bishop of Broken Bay
In a long lyric poem that describes the coming and birth of Christ into our world, the 16th century Carmelite mystic, Saint John of the Cross writes (with God the Father speaking to the Son):
My Son, I wish to give you
a bride who will love you.
Because of you she will deserve
to share our company,
and eat bread at our table
the same bread I eat.
There is no distance between God and God's creation in this vision of things.
The Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus reminds us that we are not alone or separated from God, but rather we share in the communion of God’s love made visible in the birth of our Saviour.
In the child Jesus, the humility and vulnerability of God is visible. It almost seems like a contradiction that the almighty is vulnerable. However, we must resist the temptation to equate vulnerability with weakness. This image is the origin of Saint Paul’s declaration to the church at Corinth: “when I am weak, then I am strong”. (2Cor 12:10)
God comes without force or fear, because he does not wish to compel us into friendship by imposing upon us. Rather, in the person of Jesus, God takes on our human flesh so as to transform and enlighten us from within.
If anything can conquer the darkness and doubt of human frailty, it is the vulnerability of the child. God assumed this vulnerability in order to heal us from human sin and division and to lead us to our home with God in paradise.
Christmas celebrated in the true Christian spirit will lead us more deeply into the mystery of faith. However, it is not just for the next life – the celebration is also for this life.
At Christmas time, I am always aware that there can be both joys and struggles. There is joy in feasting and celebrating with family, friends and the community of the Church.
There can also be struggles for those who are alone, separated from family or the community, and for those who have lost loved ones.
Wherever we find ourselves, my hope is that each and every one will know the truth that God is not distant and that Jesus Christ is born for our good and the salvation of the whole world.
May every blessing of the Christ child come upon you and your families this Christmas and may the love and the joy and the peace of Christ be with you always. Amen.