A great deal of suffering in our world is caused by people who have chosen cruelty over compassion, violence over virtue, rancor over responsibility, mockery over mercy, anger over appreciation—the sins of self-centeredness. Yet we proclaim that love is stronger than hate and that good will triumph over evil. Why?
Because of Christmas.
Christians believe that the All-Powerful Creator of everything chose to become one of us, to become a human being. God chose to have a mother, to live among us, to suffer, and to die. Why?
Because of love.
The Word of God that called all Creation into being descended into our world, into our lives because we are intimately and infinitely loved. God will not let us suffer in this sinful world alone or lose the bliss of His presence, which is the knowledge and strength of our own sacredness and eternal beauty.
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?
These words of St. Gregory of Nyssa are offered by the Catholic Church in the midst of our sorrows, sicknesses, and sufferings at the hands of sinners. We are all sinners, yet God desires to unlock us from the chains of our misery because God loves us completely and has mercy on us profoundly. The proof of God’s love is the astounding and wondrous miracle that we celebrate every Christmas: “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.”
God in the flesh experienced, not only the physical limitations and weakness of being human, but also the agonizing pain inflicted by cruel, violent, and merciless people—our pain. Christ was spared nothing, fully divine though He was, except for everlasting death. And from this, Christ saves us through His own resurrection from the dead.
The gift of liberation from sin and eternal life is given to each and every one of us. Will we accept it? To receive the gift of divine love means accepting Christ into our hearts—into our lives—by choosing to love Him, to follow Him, and to listen to Him: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… Love your neighbor as yourself.” Freely and fully receiving this divine gift from God means freely and fully choosing to love—to love Our Creator as well as the very fact of our creation, and to love one another.
The key to the treasure of true and endless joy is divine love. Christ is the key. During Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us remember and reflect upon the reason for the season so that we may open the greatest gift of all for ourselves and the world.
© 2018 Christina Chase
 Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 457
 1 John 4:9
 Mark 12:30-31
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog, and I've written a book titled It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.