The feast of Christmas, which each year renews our faith and incites us to deeper love for God and neighbour, is not without raising a few questions. Perhaps the most important of them is: if it is true that God has become a man to save us, then how is it that 2,000 years later the world is still such a mess? G. K. Chesterton’s retort comes to mind: “It is not Christianity that has failed the West, it is the West that has failed Christianity”. But we could add: it’s not just the West, it’s the vast majority of the world that has failed Christianity. So we must ask ourselves why that is. Perhaps it is for the same reason that the Incarnate God who suffers and dies was, as St Paul tells us, a stumbling-block for Jews and folly for Gentiles.
The fact is that God’s intervention in our world has very high demands on us, and few are those who really take them to heart. Those demands are expressed by the Babe in the Crib, as they will be throughout His life. Jesus comes to teach us the way to salvation, to freedom from vice, to the practice of virtue. Chief among them are two which shine out at Christmas: humility and chastity. These two virtues, proper to Christianity, were brought to the world by the Son of God Incarnate, and they can change the world when enough people practice them. For in them, is contained the fullness of true love of God and true love of neighbour, and all that is needed to make the earth a paradise. And yet, in most hearts, Jesus, the humble, chaste Jesus, finds little if any room.
This Christmas, let us kneel before the Infant God, and make to Him the offering of our lives, of all our being, let us resolve to set out following in His footsteps. If we do, then this Christmas will truly let some Divine Light into our world, and the darkness will begin once again to recede, as it did on the first Christmas night, which shone with the brightness of God Himself.
A very blessed Christmas to one and all!