Christmas Eve. We love all kinds of things about Christmas: Presents, family, the tree, cookies.... The first Christmas didn't have any of those things. But they were still happy because they had Jesus. Our Lord and Savior had given up all his riches as the Lord of the Universe to come and be with us. Why did he do that?
Because He loves us.
Jesus was willing to become small, innocent, tiny, and helpless -- a little baby in a poor family -- for love of us. We can be tempted to think that God is some distant force that doesn't really know us or care but us. But God became one of us in Jesus Christ to prove that He loves us so much that there is nothing He would not give up for us. That's what Christmas is all about: God cared enough to give us His very best.
Where do we experience this love for ourselves? In the Eucharist. The word Bethlehem means "House-of-bread." Jesus was laid in a feeding trough. He becomes food for our souls. In the Eucharist we encounter God's love for us personally. How do we repay His "I love you?" By loving Him in return. Love is the best gift we can give Him in return.
(25 Dec 2011)