John's Jottings

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas to all!


     Christmas is all about God becoming incarnate, Jesus becoming the new Adam. The first man, Adam, was a creation of God, come to think of it he must have not had any belly button. Jesus on the other hand, the new Adam was born like the rest of us, with a belly button, conceived differently through the Holy Spirit which gave him his Divinity, but grew in the womb of a women like the rest of us and birthed the same way. The old Adam being a created child had no divinity, just imbued by the Spirit of God to give him life, life differently than other animals, but not God, just in Gods image and likeness. Jesus was sent to us to renew the promise of Adam, because when Adam and Eve sinned it broke and damaged their relationship with God. God wants an intimate relationship with his creation. The problem or is it the most precious gift, is that we have the freedom to choose, even with our relationship with God we can choose God…. or not. Love cannot be true without freedom to choose, therefore, the Father sends his Son who is a creature who is fully human but conceived by the Holy Spirit making him fully God, to convince us to choose and bring back that wonderful intimate relationship with the Father.
     Every single person longs for an intimate relationship with God. You may laugh at me and even tell me, I don’t believe in God and so intimacy with God is absurd. I have heard that God is too big to have a relationship with or that God does not really care and the best excuse, and very convincing for some people, is why would I want to have a relationship with a God who allows such violence and injustice, if he is really such a loving God what up with that? Yup, heard and asked the same questions.
     The answer is in the Christmas Story, but we must sit down and ask: “the what and the why” of this season, to really contemplate Christmas because it is the beginning of a new relationship with God, a God here, not some distant galaxy far, far away. A God we can talk to and know that has experienced what we go through, except sin. Jesus, was a baby that grew into a man, had friends, looked up at night and wondered at the stars, smelled that which was so good, like baking bread, fresh carved wood and of course those that do not smell so good like old goats. He saw and experienced men and women who were sharing and loving and those that were mean and ugly. He especially experienced the worst of humanity at the end of his life when he was brutalized and hung on the cross. This God by his incarnation is trying to tell us “I want you to let me love you, I want to free you of your addictions and sin and the things that make you so unhappy. I want to bring you hope, beyond the things of earth. I want you to love beyond self, but to love as I teach you. I want you to be a part of a community of believers.” But none the less he reminds us that even when God is made present, sin is still pervasive, that even the Son of God is born surrounded by it. He was born in a stable because of the arrogance of a ruler to count people in their towns of origin. Later this Holy Family must escape to Egypt for fear of their lives because of the same King that was afraid of losing power and wealth to another King. Sin becomes so strong in people’s souls that they want God dead, nonexistent or at least built up in their own image and likeness. Sin does not want a birth to forgiveness, sin does not want a peace that is deeply rooted in our hearts and then is reflected to those around us. Sin only wants to bring to birth chaos and death, hatred and hopelessness. The birth we celebrate today is a reminder every year that we are not helpless to change the world around us. It may, at times, seem hopeless with what seems like bad news on bad news and yet, before we know it Christmas comes around again and, so we remember again God is with us, despite sin. All we need is more people to believe and act on what this God/Man, Jesus, has to offer the world…The offer of true freedom, not based on governments or what others think of us or if we have the correct political thoughts, but to believe in healing and joy. Having something to base our life on so that it does not get blown to pieces every few years by the next pop cultural experiment.
     Therefore, rejoice and be glad, because all of your perceptions of the world should be rocked and challenged by this radical birth. Perhaps coaxing a “yes” from you to develop an intimate and loving relationship with a God who came as a child, growing into a man who would teach us the true meaning of love and freedom from sin. A new Adam, opening the doors to paradise.


God Bless all of you,

Fr. John, O.S.B.


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