This is a conflation of a couple of Christmas meditations I wrote in my 'paper journal' back in the day (20 years ago and more. . .), and a partial re-post of what I posted here a few years back. . .
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they will call his name Emmanuel - 'God With Us'."
- The Gospel According to Matthew, chapter 1, verse 23
(ref. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 7:14)
"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
- The Gospel According to John, chapter 1, verse 14
"In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets
at many times and in various ways;
But in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. . ."
- The Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 1, verses 1-2
"For we do not have a High Priest who is unable
to sympathize with us in our weakness. . ."
- The Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 15
I recall a sermon I heard once, in which the preacher made the point that, in the Incarnation God, who is greater than the Universe, willingly confined Himself in human flesh. The One who created the Universe, who called it into being and sustains it by His merciful love, emptied Himself of his infinite Divine prerogatives and lived among us, as one of us, knowing, in His own body, our finitude, our weakness. It's as though I, in my compassion for worm-kind, became a worm, to live as a worm among the worms, to understand in my own life and experience, what worm-hood is like. Except that God taking on human flesh is a bigger existential 'leap' than me becoming a worm; I already know what it's like to live in a body, for one example. . .
So then - God is no longer remote from us; He has come to us - God is with us. He's One of Us (I think of the Joan Osborne song from the 90s; she asked a better question than perhaps she knew. . .)
How differently would we understand our lives if we were more consciously aware of this foundational truth - God is with us.
How differently would we relate to our minor trials (or our major ones, for that matter) if we knew - really knew - that God is with us.
How different would our sins look to us if we really understood that God is with us?
What a privilege, what an awesome possibility is laid before us - God has become one of us, that we might become like God. And yet how little do we - do I - take hold of it and venture so bold as to live by means of God's grace?
And then this -
"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all -
how will He not also graciously give us all things?"
- The Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, chapter 8, verse 32
God didn't have to send His Son, the Eternal Word, to be incarnate, but he did. And if He did that, what won't he do for us? Can I even grasp what this - the Incarnation - means, in terms of how God wants to relate to me? With what gracious favor, what kindliness, what gratuitous, extravagant, profligate love, He regards me/us? The 'plans He has for [us], plans for good and not for evil, to give [us] a future and a hope?' (ref. Jeremiah 29:11)
It reminds me of what CS Lewis said in 'The Weight of Glory' - "We muck about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us." We just don't get it. . .
O God, have mercy on us; help us to see clearly, and to know, really know, the lavishness of your love for us. Let it change us, purify us, make us holy, make us more like you created us to be in the beginning, to be your presence in the world, to shine as lights in the darkness. . .