As you know, because of the Incarnational accent in my preaching, I often quote the Prologue of St. John's Gospel - "The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us."
That is Christmas in a nutshell. How appropriate that John's Prologue is read at Christmas morning Mass.
The Son of God, the Eternal Word, took flesh. He became one of us. He is like us in all things except sin. Jesus is truly God and truly man! He is God Incarnate.
I have been meditating and reading on this topic during Advent. I have been drawn particularly to understanding the Mass - Christ's Mass - in this regard.
At every Mass, the Word becomes Flesh and dwells among us. Christ's Mass is here all the time. All the worldly celebrations of Christmas pale in comparison to the Liturgy. Christ DOES come to us. It is all happening now. Christmas is not an historical celebration for us. Liturgy is our way of seeing as God sees.
The older I get and the more seriously I reflect on my faith, the more impressed I am with the depth of our Catholic Faith. Again and again I see that we Catholics do not just "talk" about Christ, but really see Him.
His Presence is not just a "feeling" in us (though it can be that too!), but real, true, and substantial in the Eucharist. I am understanding the essential unity of Bethlehem and Calvary, not to mention the essential unity of the liturgical year. This unity makes eternity more approachable for me.
After five years with you at St. Benedict's, I am grateful for all you have done for me. But one thing tops the list - You have helped me see Jesus in new ways.
I am reminded of a line by my favorite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. He wrote:
...Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.
Like the star of Bethlehem, you have brought me to Jesus.
I am honored to be your servant.
A Merry and Blessed Christ-mass to all!