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St. John Paul II -- "Christmas is the Feast Day of Man"

When I came back to the Faith in 1981, one Scripture passage became the rudder of my spiritual life. It is Ephesians 1: 3-4. Through the years, this passage has spoken to me in many ways and has sustained me through many trials.

Verse 4 , however, is particularly relevant for this time of the year, and was echoed by St. John Paul II in a Christmas reflection. It states this, "God chose us in him before the world began to be holy and blameless in his sight, to be full of love." Those first five words tell us something about ourselves that is amazing and astounding -- each one of us was distinctively and individually chosen by God to have life.

Here is how St. John Paul II related this reality to the Christmas season:

"Christmas is the feast day of man.

"One of the billions of human beings who have been born and will be born on earth...

"And, at the same time, one, unique and irrepeatable. If we celebrate the birth of Jesus so solemnly, we do it so as to testify that every human is someone, unique and irrepeatable...

"God assures us of that.

"Through Him and in His eyes, man is always unique and irrepeatable; someone eternally thought and eternally preselected;

someone called and denominated with his own name, as that first man, Adam; and like that new Adam, who was born of the Virgin Mary in the grotto of Bethlehem: 'You...shall give him the name Jesus' (Lk. 1:31).

"It is humanity which is raised up in God's earthly birth. Humanity, human 'nature,' is assumed in the unity of the Divine Person of the Son, in the unity of the Eternal Word...The birth of the Incarnate Word is the beginning of a new strength for mankind itself; the capacity open to every human being, to whom, according to St. John, 'he empowered to become children of God' (Jn 1:12).

"Accept the great truth on man. Accept this dimension of man, which has opened to all mankind...

"Accept the mystery in which everyone lives since Christ was born...

"God was pleased with man through Christ.

 "Man...it is not permissible to humiliate him; it is not permitted to hate him.

"Happy Christmas to each and every man and woman!

Happy Christmas, in the peace and joy of Christ."

My Friends, During this holy season, may we contemplate the great mystery of human life, the mystery of God's selection of us, and the One Life who gives us all life -- everlasting life.

(John Paul II's reflection taken from Prayers and Devotion, edited by Bishop Peteter Canisius Johannes van Lierde, O.S.A., translated by Firman O'Sullivan. Published by Viking).

 

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