To everyone listening to this podcast this week, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. And I hope that in the middle of whatever way you mark Christmas Day, that you take some time out in prayer to ponder the deeper meaning of Christmas. Around this time of year, I’m often asked, by a variety of people, about the “real meaning” of Christmas—as if it’s some big secret. And perhaps these days it is something of a secret, because, at least in the West, the celebration of Christmas can feel like it’s almost overwhelmed by commercialism. The other day a friend of mine said that living and working in Manhattan can make it feel especially hard to appreciate Christmas, because all you think about are the crowds.
So what is the real meaning of Christmas? Well, it’s that God became human. And that’s still a tremendously subversive message. The ineffable, inaccessible, incomprehensible Creator of the Universe became a human being, who was born. And God comes to us in the most vulnerable way possible—as an infant, completely dependent on us for his care. And notice that God enters the world naked and vulnerable and then, at the Crucifixion, leaves the world naked and vulnerable. God did this for us so that we might come to know and love and follow him more closely, as he lived among us, for his 33 years on earth. The Daily Examen is one way to encounter God in the Spirit, as he walks among the days of your life. So this week during your Examen, to celebrate Christmas, maybe just give thanks for the gift of Jesus in our lives, Emmanuel, God with us. And with you.