The Octave of Christmas
(1 John 2; 18 – 21; Ps. 96; John 1: 1 – 18)
On this last day of the year God through the Church presents us with a profound, engaging proclamation of the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus – He who is Emmanuel “God with us.” The Gospel is striking no matter how often proclaimed and heard; through this Word, God desires to engage us more into His life, to be more pledged to Him which is one of the meanings of “being engaged.”
Some commentators hold that the passage was possibly a hymn of the early Christians and perhaps, St. John saw it as a perfect introduction to his Gospel. Or, perhaps, in a very personal, inspired moment, alone at prayer, reﬂecting on the Jesus he knew, the words ﬂowed from his heart – and ever since, through the centuries have been proclaimed and heard in faith.
And, we know that the Sacred Word is not just about Jesus; we know and believe that the Lord is present in this Word, therefore to pray it is to receive Him, to hear it in faith with a receptive heart is to be in communion with Him – it is the desire of our Lord to engage us, to take us to Himself, into HImself. Such is our Emmanuel – “God with us.”
This is our extraordinary privilege – reality, not pious fantasy – the privilege of our Baptism, of our adoption into the very life of the Most Holy Trinity – the Word, this Sacred Word reveals God’s desire to engage us, each one, into the most exquisitely sacred relationship there is – living as a son, a daughter of our God who is love – year in and year out until we enter into God’s eternity.
“In the beginning was the Word” – and here and now is that same Word desiring us to receive Him and gracing us to desire Him. As St. John writes: “From His fullness, we have all received, grace in place of grace…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – and continue to come…to us. Such is our Emmanuel – “God with us.”