On the first Christmas Day, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary. On Christmas we celebrate the reality that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, became a human being and dwelt among us.
“Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23
God not only became a man a little over 2,000 years ago but continues to be with us today. In the sacrament of Baptism, we receive God’s life within us and become children of God. Through prayer, the sacraments, and doing the will of God, we can become more and more united to God who offers to be with us each individually.
To know the will of God, we need to pray and study the Bible and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Studying the lives and teachings of the Saints is also very helpful.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains authoritatively the nature and teachings of Jesus Christ as taught in Sacred Scripture and handed down from the apostles in Sacred Tradition. Advent season is a good time to review one of the most important doctrines of our Catholic faith, the Incarnation.
Below is a section from the Catechism of the Catholic Church explaining the Incarnation and some reasons why the Son of God became man.
I. WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?
456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”
457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins…”:70
458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”72 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”73
459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”74 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!”75 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”76 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.77
_460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:78 “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”79 …
II. THE INCARNATION
461 Taking up St. John’s expression, “The Word became flesh”,82 the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.83
462 The Letter to the Hebrews refers to the same mystery:
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.”84
463 Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”85
Footnotes: 70. 1 Jn 4:10; 4:14; 3:5. 71. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech 15: PG 45, 48B. 72. 1 Jn 4:9. 73. Jn 3:16. 74. Mt 11:29; Jn 14:6. 75. Mk 9:7; cf. Dt 6:4-5. 76. Jn 15:12. 77. Cf. Mk 8:34. 78. 2 Pt 1:4. 79. St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939. 82. Jn 1:14. 83. Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer. 84. Heb 10:5-7, citing Ps 40:6-8 ([7-9] LXX). 85. 1 Jn 4:2.
Today we see a lot of confusion in the world and also a fair amount of inaccurate information regarding many things including religion. The authentic teachings of the Catholic Church including the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church can be found online at the Vatican website at http://w2.vatican.va/content/
As you study these teachings, pray and ponder in your heart the fact that God is truly with us. Spend some quality time alone with God in prayer and reflection as well as doing some solid spiritual reading.
To learn more about having a greater union with God who dwells within us, I also recommend an online course called “Seeking Union with God” at http://