Come Let Us Adore Him: 5 Reasons Everyone Can Celebrate Christmas
Advent ends with the Feast of the Nativity on the eve of December 24th, however nothing can truly prepare us for this grand celebration: the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.
Although Jesus arrived as the heir to the Davidic kingdom, is the Lord of creation and Messiah, he was born in a lowly manger (feeding trough) in the small town of Bethlehem (“city of bread”), with Mary and his adoptive father, Joseph, as poor, humble parents. His advent confounds us with its simplicity, humility, and vulnerability (1 Corinthians 1: 27).
The King of Creation, born in relative obscurity. The Savior of humanity, a helpless babe.
It’s difficult to imagine the moment God entered human history, however Christ’s birth was not a private event. As we celebrate Christ’s Mass (Christmas), try and find yourself in the persons described below who witnessed his blessed Nativity.
Joseph: he not only shares with us the newly minted fear of fatherhood, but of adopted fatherhood. He would help raise and protect a child not his own, to preserve in trust the instrument of humanity’s salvation.
No pressure, Joe.
You may arrive at the celebration of Christ’s Nativity confused, fearful, and overwhelmed with the prospect of holding this faith in trust, knowing that it is not only yours, but to be shared with others. Perhaps you are struggling with God’s will for your life. Understand that it may not be a life in the limelight, but one of support and protection of others in their journey. You are Joseph. You are an honored guest as we celebrate the arrival of Christ.
Shepherds were some of the lowliest folk in 1st century Palestine. A rough, poor, ragged people, no one would ever include them in a celebration as important as the birth of a king.
And yet the host of heaven appeared to such as these, offering a personal invitation to see the King of Kings.
Perhaps you have a dark past. Perhaps you struggle deeply from physical and emotional scars. You were born in the wrong class, to the wrong family, and while others flourish on your labor, you are left with crumbs. You’re never invited to important events.
Until today, the greatest of all. Welcome. Take your place among us in adoration of the King.
Scripture tells us that these magi traveled from the east and followed a star to Bethlehem. These magi were by most accounts Zoroastrian priests from Persia who recognized a great event taking place.
With their arrival to “prostrate and pay him homage, offering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2: 11),” they represent that Christ’s arrival fulfills the humanity’s collective reach toward God found in all religion, that he is the finality of that search when God himself reaches back in the Incarnation.
Perhaps you are a Protestant, or not a Christian, and yet like the magi, you recognize and feel a draw to something more, something…complete. You sit in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist–the Bread of Life–and recognize the beginning of faith in Christ and his true, original Church. Bring whatever you have, the gift of your heart, and like the magi you will leave going “another way” you may not have expected.
Oh Mary, the new and restored Eve. The great “yes” to God that would usher grace, mercy, and salvation. Perhaps you are indeed faithful, but you struggle with the implications of your faith. What does your life mean? What must you do with the joy and responsibility of bearing Christ in your life?
The great lesson of Mary is that we must allow Christ to enter our lives completely: body, soul, blood, and divinity, and allow him to fully make us in the image of his Body, the Church. It was Mary’s flesh that Jesus took as the first, willing tabernacle of his full presence. Now, we look to Mary as that great example, for when we receive Christ in the Eucharist, consecrated by the Holy Spirit, our lives then become like the womb of Mary, that we might be the bearers of Christ, only to give him away in our love of others.
Herod was not present with the others, yet some of us may identify with him. In his slaughter of the innocents, he represents that old sin of pride, when Satan wanted to be God, and Adam and Eve wished to be like God. Herod, seeking to kill the newborn king, like us, wants to be sovereign, not subject, and therefore resists the arrival of the true King.
Perhaps you are Herod. Perhaps you’ve fought God’s calling, his will for your life. Perhaps you’ve walked away from the Church, seeking your own, more stylish, comfortable form of worship, and abandoned the Church Christ founded. Like Christ’s birth in a lowly manger, the celebration of the Mass may not be the hip praise and worship experience of the congregation down the street, but it’s what he designed, and it’s everything you need.
Come Together Now
Christ’s birth announces to the world that God has come to gather the nations: all peoples, all races, all faiths, all classes, all times to himself into one Body, the Church–his Bride. This is demonstrated beautifully in the diverse guest list of the Nativity. It is also a prefiguring of what would later become Eucharistic Adoration, where people from all walks of life come into the church, offering the gifts of their heart, and pay Christ homage in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.
This Christmas, we all belong in the Nativity. No matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you come from, take the journey, and come let us truly adore him together as God intended.by