Henceforth and forever, God with us

Christmas Octave
Contemplating the Simplicity of the Divine Child

…henceforth and for ever, the infinite and eternal God is God with us. He is not far off. We need not search for him in the heavens or in mystical notions. He is close at hand. He became man and he will never withdraw from our humanity, which he has made his own. …

He appears not in the splendour of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable; not in pomp and show, but in simplicity of life; not in power, but in astonishing smallness. In order to meet him, we need to go where he is. We need to bow down, to humble ourselves, to make ourselves small. The newborn Child challenges us. He calls us to leave behind fleeting illusions and to turn to what is essential, to renounce our insatiable cravings, to abandon our endless yearning for things we will never have. We do well to leave such things behind, in order to discover, in the simplicity of the divine Child, peace, joy and the luminous meaning of life.

Yet Christmas has above all a taste of hope because, for all the darkness in our lives, God’s light shines forth. His gentle light does not frighten us. God, who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, by being born poor and frail in our midst, as one of us. He is born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”. In this way, he seems to tell us that he is born as bread for us; he enters our life to give us his life; he comes into our world to give us his love. He does not come to devour or to lord it over us, but instead to feed and serve us. There is a straight line between the manger and the cross where Jesus will become bread that is broken. It is the straight line of love that gives and saves, the love that brings light to our lives and peace to our hearts.

— Pope Francis, homily for Christmas Eve Vigil Mass 2016

Meditation from Divine Intimacy
Believing in Love

  1. When creating us, God loved us so much that He made us into  His own image and likeness; when redeeming us, He loved us so much that He made Himself to our image! Christmas is preeminently the feast of love—the love which was revealed, not in the sufferings of the Cross, but in the lovableness of a little Child, our God, stretching out His arms to make us understand that He loves us.
  2. God is Love! An immense treasure is contained in these words; and it is the treasure which God discloses to souls who devoutly contemplate the Incarnate Word. Until we comprehend that God is infinite love and infinite benevolence, who gives Himself and extends Himself to all men in order to communicate to them His goodness and His happiness, our spiritual life has still just begun: it has not yet developed or deepened. Only when the soul, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, has penetrated the mystery of divine charity, only then does its spiritual life attain to full maturity.We cannot better understand the infinite love of our God, than by drawing near to the humble manger where He lies, made flesh for us.  …From the silent, loving contemplation of the Infant Jesus, there is easily aroused in us a more profound and penetrating sense of His infinite love: we no longer merely believe, but in a certain way, we know by experience God’s love for us. Then our will fully accepts what faith teaches; it accepts it with love, with all its strength, and our soul believes unreservedly in God’s infinite love. God is Love; this truth, fundamental for all Christian life, has penetrated to the depths of the soul; it feels it, it lives it, because it has, so to say, almost touched it in its Incarnate God. One who so believes in infinite love will know how to give itself to Him without measure: to give itself totally.

Presence of God

O most sweet Infant Jesus, permit me to enter into the abyss of Your infinite love, so that I may believe in it with all my strength.