He went to Jared! A person cannot escape the ads on T.V. insisting that buying diamonds is the best gift you can give a woman. This is especially true if the man doing the purchasing is asking his intended to get engaged to be married, the ring must be so much better because in one ad the airline stewardess announces to the whole plane “he went to Jared” after the proposal in the front row takes place. In one ad even a car’s GPS gets in the act and takes over control of the car so that the man driving will get the proper jewelry, so that the grateful bride will exclaim “He went to Jared!”
He went to Bethlehem in the flesh
We’re here this evening/night/morning because a gift of even greater value than any diamond has been given by the lover of humanity to His bride. God, in the great mystery of Christmas gives the gift of himself to humanity.
He went to Bethlehem! He went to the manger, to be vulnerable, laying aside the garment of his divinity to be clothed in the wedding clothes of flesh that is like ours so that we might begin to understand the gift of God’s love for the men and women he created.
What we celebrate in this liturgy is something like an engagement and wedding. God who is pure spirit takes on our human condition. God who is beyond time, weds his very self to the fleshy existence of humanity and is born a baby! Human and God are united in a bond that can never be broken. God and man are made one body, one flesh in a great act of making love visible in a physical way.
He went to Bethlehem’s Manger!
He went to the Cross and grave
Weddings are nice, but the festivity of the wedding day is just the beginning of a life together for a couple. After the joyful celebration comes the work of growing ever deeper in love, of proving in actions the love is forever kind of love, not just romanticism day after day. The Feast of Christmas, the wedding day of God and Humanity, is a joyful celebration with Angel bands providing the song. Shepherds (not exactly the kind of people who can bring expensive suitable gifts) and Magi are the guests. The shepherd guests are “outsiders.” The Magi are not even family for remember Jesus was a Jew. Yet, these guests remind us that Christ came for the poor, powerless and all of humanity, not just a select family.
The work of proving in action Christ’s love for his spouse the Church made up of men and women was the crucifixion. He went to the Cross and the Grave! We recall his birth this evening/night/morning because it was only in the selfless act of love for his spouse in human form would our beloved be able to defeat the enemy of all humanity, death, and give us the gift of life with him forever. Humans caused the mess of death by exalting themselves in a selfish desire to be like God, so goes the story of creation. Now a new creation must come in existence through the unselfish gift of a human that fixes, a man of flesh that puts right what humans messed up. Jesus went to the cross and grave and we have gone with him in the grave of baptism. Our spouse Christ takes us to places we would not choose on our own, yet we end up with a gift we could never purchase. Only Jesus in human form could pay the price of our salvation, being saved from death. He went to the Cross!
He went to heaven to prepare a place for his bride, the church
Almost always, one partner in a marriage goes before the other in death. The surviving spouse is left to carry on in the midst of the trials of the world awaiting the day when he or she will be with the beloved, never to be parted. Christ, our spouse has gone before us, too. He is risen and will come again, not as a baby but as our lover and come to carry us across the threshold of our new home that he has built by his sacrifice, like a bride, into the eternal, perfect life of God.
He went to heaven and prepares a place for us!
It may seem at times that we are left alone in this world without someone to help us face the brokenness of this life. Innocent children are gunned down. Loved ones get terminal diseases. The one who wedded himself to humanity seems curiously absent from the house of this world when wars rage or families are in crisis. Yet, Jesus is not absent. He has not divorced us. He gave us the roadmap to the home he is preparing for us to be carried into over the threshold of time and eternity.
- Embrace fully the dignity of each human being, like Jesus did in becoming flesh.
- Fulfill the vows of baptism to sacrifice yourself daily for the good of those human beings in your life, for it is in letting go of our life that we discover a richer life, Jesus showed us.
- Trust that Jesus the spouse will come to bring us home, even in the difficult times.
He went to heaven to prepare a place for his bride, the Church!
So, today, as we give gifts that will pass away, break or were convinced we needed to buy by the clever preaching of advertisement, let us resolve to also give our brothers and sisters in the human family a gift beyond price, the Good News of Jesus born this day in word and deed.
Let us go to the Stable.
Let us go to the Cross.
Let us lead humanity to salvation, letting Jesus use our bodies as the Body of Christ that will carry his beloved bride into the fullness of life found only in the Divine.