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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

The Beauty of the Incarnation...

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.

When I was younger, I used to get mad when people put more emphasis on celebrating Christmas than celebrating Easter. I always thought that Easter was “more important” because Easter was when we celebrated Jesus’ death and resurrection, the events that earned salvation for humanity. As I’ve grown up, though, I’ve come to see a powerful importance to the celebration of Christmas.

For me, the most important thing about Christmas is the very idea of the Incarnation, that the Word of God became a human being. Before the birth of Jesus, the way that most people came into contact with God was through prayer, active attempts to speak to God directly. From what I know about ancient Jewish religious practices, prayer was understood as trying to climb upward to reach God. It was as if God was up in Heaven or in the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem with no method or desire to leave to be with humans. We see a few exceptions from this norm in Biblical figures like Moses, Samuel, and some others, but outside of these great leaders and prophets, it was almost unheard of for God to appear to people. But when God became a man in the form of Jesus Christ, everything changed.

With the birth of Jesus, God began to walk among us—as one of us. Nothing like this had ever happened before, and, with this event, people started to experience God’s presence without even asking for it. People who met Jesus while He was alive literally met God, whether they knew it or not. This experience of God was very different from the active search for God that prayer helped people achieve. People still prayed, but because of the Incarnation, they could discover God in their everyday lives whether they were Pharisees or tax collectors. And even after Jesus ascended into Heaven, people could still experience God in everyday life through the presence of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments, creation, and people around the world.

I’ve always loved looking for God in my own everyday life, and I’m only able to do that because of the miracle of the Incarnation. So this Christmas, I’ll be celebrating the great gift that we have of the ability to feel God’s presence in every single moment, the ability that God gave to us by becoming a human being on the first Christmas.

 

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Photo: Anyka/PhotoXpress

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."