The telescopes in Spain and Australia agree: 70 sextillion bodies can be seen in the known universe. That is 70 with 21 zeros added on: 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Therefore, there are more stars in the sky than all the grains of sand on the shores of the oceans and in the deserts of the world. This is the calculation in the part of the universe that can be studied at present by men. More powerful telescopes will tell what is beyond.

Two thousand years ago – to one of those heavenly bodies, the earth, came the one who made them all. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God, who created the world and all that is in it with the Father in the Holy Spirit. He came to redeem those He had first made many many years before. Perhaps He would have come to earth if there were no need of redemption, even if our first parents had never sinned. We must be most special for God to single us out in this way: to create us – to come to us – to become one of us!

What a scandal to the angels must be the enfleshment of our God! Angels are pure spirits. They have no fleshiness or carnality about them at all. Our God does. Ours is a carnal God who took on our human condition and keeps it for all eternity. We believe that when He rose from the dead, He took back the body He had been crucified with: an extended body that had quantity, that could eat fish and leave bones as He did after the resurrection. A body that Thomas could put his finger into the hand of the Risen Lord, and take his hand and put it into the side of the Lord. And thus He sits now at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

And what a scandal is this incarnation of our God to the Jewish people! There great contribution to revelation is the transcendent God who pre-existed His creation. For that God to become immanent, Emmanuelle (God with us) – to assume our human nature – is just beyond their comprehension – and it is beyond ours, too – except that our God revealed Himself to us in this way; and we believe! What a daring faith we have! Ours is surely the God of surprises.

If I can believe this Christmas story, everything else in Christianity is easy to believe. That Jesus would die and rise from the dead – that He would return to the Father in heaven and send the Holy Spirit – that He would take His mother to heaven and promise to take us there as well – that He would give himself to me in the form of bread – all this is credible once I accept His enfleshment.

This is what Christianity is all about. No wonder our future is full of hope! He loves us common people. He made so many of us. He became one of us Himself!  No one could love us more! Our God is certainly no afraid to take risks.

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