We do not worship a god who is far away, unapproachable, too busy to notice us, or a god who abandons us to our own devices. Christmas speaks of a totally different story. Christmas is all about God’s loving desire to be with us personally, to accompany us on our journey, and to continually invite us into his wonderful life.
Today we realize and acknowledge the magnificent miracle of God actually becoming one of us. Our faith professed each Sunday and Holy Days during the year tells us that God becomes human for us. Why? So that God can share everything with us and to be present to each of us as we are.
On this Christmas Eve, we celebrate God’s creativity in journeying to be with us so intimately as one like us in all things. The first reading from the Second Book of Samuel has David reflecting on his situation and its relationship with God’s role towards his chosen ones: the People of God.
David remarks, “Here I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.” He acknowledges that disparity and wants to remedy it somehow. However, God has quite different plans and seems not to be bothered by the differences David worries over.
God speaks a message to the prophet Nathan for him to deliver to David. “I have been with you wherever you went. . . Your house shall endure forever.” God does not seem to be “slumming” by dwelling in a tent with his beloved people, but desires to be present through David, his family and his house. God’s commitment is to be faithfully present to the Israelites and to all people beginning with David’s line.
When God “pitches his tent” among us through the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus that same desire on God’s part is manifested in spades. Now Jesus, the Son of God, the incarnation of God, the very presence of God is made known not in an ark but personally in the humanness of Jesus.
(Adapted from Tom Shanahan, S.J.)