2nd Sunday of Christmas
There is always the temptation to try to make things easier. One temptation which has existed almost since the beginning of the Church 2000 years ago is to make the Christmas Mystery easier. To say that Baby Jesus isn’t really God.
It has so many forms it’s difficult to describe but Jesus Christ, My Lord and My God, becomes a wonderful person, a great example of love and compassion, filled with the love of God, revealing to us what God is like, but not actually God. So, Our Lady becomes a good pure Jewish girl who dealt with an unplanned pregnancy with great trust and courage, but not actually the Mother of God. The crucifixion becomes the tragic death of a young man and a call for justice and peace but not actually the destruction of sin and our salvation. The resurrection becomes the power of the teaching and memory of Jesus kept alive in the hearts of his followers but not the final triumph of life and the opening of heaven.
Perhaps a good example of the influence of this temptation is the way we sometimes speak of ‘Jesus on the one hand and God on the other’. As if Jesus is one thing but the Almighty all-powerful God is another. Yet Jesus is the almighty all-powerful God. This is the heart of the mystery of Christmas.
This is at the heart of the opening of St John’s Gospel which we hear today. St John, who of course knew Jesus so very well, who stood beneath the cross, who saw him risen from the dead, who cared for Mary the Mother of God, calls Jesus The Word. That Word, he says, existed in the beginning, the Word, was with God, the Word was God, all things are created and have life through the Word and that Word, Jesus became flesh and lived among us.
Jesus is God. The creator of all is born of a creature, the giver of life accepts death, the one who is all powerful and needs nothing needs his mother to keep him warm and fed, the one whose glory, majesty and dignity, whose very nature is beyond our comprehension needs his nappy changing.
This is the heart of the mystery. We must never forget it. Jesus is God.