Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent! Christmas is almost here. Every year about this time I stop to take account of what we – as people of faith - are really observing and celebrating. With all the hectic activity, parties, social expectations, buying or making gifts, mailing cards, decorating the house, with all this activity and stuff the more important aspect of Christmas can easily be lost.
We Christians are celebrating the mystery of the Incarnation. Literally that means the Enfleshment. We affirm the wild and even crazy belief that God has become human. If you don’t think that is a huge proposition to swallow, then clearly you have not thought long and hard enough about just what it is we are observing and celebrating at Christmas.
What is important about the mystery of the Incarnation, of God becoming fully human, is not so much what you feel about it, but what you believe. Feelings help, but they are not faith. So if you are not feeling very jolly, and the Christmas spirit has not touched you, if you are upset about the relationships in your family, depressed over the political situation in our country, if you are ill and not feeling well, or you are just turned off and depressed about the gross consumerism of Christmas, that is OK. All those feelings are fine, and many of them are quite appropriate and proper.But if you are not feeling particularly Christmassy, and generally are stressed and out-of-sorts, you still are fully able to celebrate the really important part of Christmas, or Christ Mass as it once was, and that is to re-affirm your faith in God made flesh. For us, Christmas is not about sentiment and emotion, but about commitment to the faith that God has become one of us, in order to be with us, save us, and enable us to be with God forever. That is something to celebrate! Happy Feast of the Incarnation! Merry Christmas!