If you come to Mass on Christmas morning, the opening words of the Gospel will be “In the beginning was the Word…” And for this reason my “Bible Basics” series, which began with thoughts on God’s words, ends with THE Word: with the Eternal Word, with Jesus Christ.
Vatican II made it very clear (in Dei Verbum, the Constitution on Divine Revelation, paragraph 2) that the ultimate content of revelation is not a series of doctrinal statements to be believed but God—revealed to us in the Son. This revelation begins with Christmas, with the Word made flesh, with the birth of the Messiah (to use Fr Raymond E Brown’s phrase).
This Eternal Word is born for us in a feeding trough in the “House of Bread” (Beth-lehem); He is announced by angels, honored by foreigners (Magi), and adored by outcasts (shepherds). At the same time, he is ignored by “players” (priests) and hated by self-important potentates (Herod).
“This is the LORD for whom we looked—let us rejoice and be glad that God has saved us” (Isaiah 25:9b).
Jesus/Joshua (one form of the name is Greek, the other Hebrew) means “God saves.” Do we, like the people spoken about by Isaiah, know our need to be saved and are willing to look to Him to be saved? Or do we think we can take care of business on our own, with no help from anyone? Perhaps we haven’t looked closely enough at the mess we’ve made of things, going it alone?
All the words of Scripture point to the fundamental revelation of the Word. Our destiny is to be caught up in the Word—“a consummation (to paraphrase Hamlet) devoutly to be wished.” God’s plan (to quote the Letter to the Ephesians 1:10) is to “sum up all things in Christ.” In the language of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christ becomes the “Omega-point” toward which the destiny of the cosmos converges—unity in Him is the ultimate purpose of the universe. He reveals Himself so that we can be drawn into unity with Him.
Why would anyone want this, which perhaps seems too much like being absorbed (rather like nirvana)? The answer is the revelation of God as love, as sacrificial love. Who among us would not want to be embraced/enfolded/wrapped in the depths of the most powerful and purest Love? This is our God: He comes to save us; He comes to love us.