Then at the precise instant when Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary the WHOLE PICTURE changed. Jesus was born and matured as a member of this people of faith, the children of Abraham. After about thirty years of experiencing a normal human life and identified by his neighbors and friends as the son of a Jewish carpenter Jesus began to say and do things that the religious leaders around him held for God alone to say and do.
Jesus did not deny the accuracy of their observations about him. Rather he took the occasions of their complaining as an opportunity to proclaim himself to be the Promised One of Genesis, justifying his supernatural words and deeds by identifying them as his credentials to help them have faith in him as Emmanuel, not just another prophet but as God Himself come among us as one of us in the mystery of His humanity yet as ever and always in the mystery of His divinity the Eternal Word.
In his genuine identity and capacity as one of us Jesus had no awareness of the content of the first paragraph of this blog. In His divine Identity as the Eternal Word of God ,divinely united with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He was well aware of it. Looking back, the event of Christmas is rooted in the event of the Annunciation nine months ago on March 25. Looking ahead the event of Christmas will reach full maturity in the event of Good Friday April 22, 2011.
As the baby Jesus of Christmas grows in His human experiences He will learn to say "Before Abraham came to be, I AM". (jn 8: 58). And: "Philip, to see Me is to see the Father," (Jn 14: 8,9). And: "I and the Father are one." (Jn 10:30). And: "Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." (Mt 11: 28).And : "This is how all will know you are my disciples: your love for one another." (Jn 13: 35). And : "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." ( Jn 15: 13). And, to Pilate: " You would have no power over me whatever unless it were given you from above." (Jn 19:11). And : " As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (Jn 20:21.
With these and similar texts in mind I hope to kneel before the manger again this Christmas in awe not at the authenticity of the figures in the crib but in the wonder of creation and my own life, waiting for further time color space and shapes into which God may call me in my 83rd year of life to discover and embrace the dramatic life and love of Emanuel, God-Among -us, which all and in a special way those Baptized into the life death and resurrection of Jesus as branches on a vine are invited to share and proclaim.