“’Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Immanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’” Mt 1,23 (quoting Is 7,14)
In this Christmas season, I really just want to focus on the core of the Christmas message: Immanuel, God is with us.
From the moment of his conception in his mother’s womb and his subsequent birth, Jesus became one with us, entering into our humanity forever. And he is more with us than a human being of whom we would say that he is with us because he is in the same room.
In our baptism and in our confirmation, supplemented by our regular eucharistic communion to Christ, we received the Holy Spirit. But since the Holy Spirit and Jesus are one, then because we have received the Holy Spirit, we have received Jesus. He dwells in us always, as intimate to ourselves as the Holy Spirit, as intimate as we are to ourselves. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” And because the Son and the Father are one with the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Holy Spirit and of the Son to us means the presence of the Father. “In Him – in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – we live and move and have our being.”
Because of the Incarnation of the Word of God, Jesus, as he is known since his human birth, because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the institution of the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation, and eucharist), we are one with Christ, and He, with us. We are one with him personally. “God with us” means ultimately, “God with me”.
We are never, and will never be alone. He will always be with us, with me, simply because God never forsakes those he has chosen to be his own. Whatsoever life throws at us, He is with us through it all. In human eyes, we all must all ultimately be alone, if only in death. But even in death, we are not alone. Jesus has preceded us in it, and He walks us through it.
Such is the life of a Christian. My fervent prayer in this Christmas season is that we will all be gifted, by the grace of God, with a deep and abiding faith-certainty, all the days of our lives, that God is with us, because he truly is.
To each and every one of you, and especially to those who are living this Christmas under a dark, heavy cloud, a light-filled and peace-filled Christmas.