The human face of God

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“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’” (Luke 2:10-12)

This is the biggest news ever announced to humankind: The Almighty Lord and Creator of the universe and all that it contains has decided to become human. By this, he wants to show us the greatness of the humanity that he, in his immense love, has designed.

From the moment Jesus was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago until today, we can see the human face of God in each baby that is born into the world, the face of God as our Father. Each mother that ecstatically contemplates the wonder of this hungry and fragile little being, born from her womb, makes us feel our heavenly God more closely and tangibly.

The perfection of each part of the body of that miniature woman or man allows us to catch a glimpse of the divinity within; it helps us see the divine face of humankind; a small face that reveals the infinite greatness that we all aspire to with heart and mind.

To celebrate Christmas is to celebrate life. We celebrate each woman who says yes to life growing inside her womb in the knowledge that she is an instrument of God´s fecund power to perfect humankind. We rejoice with every human being on earth who admires the mystery of life in a newborn, and who feels hopeful about the future of the world.

Christmas is also a time to stop and think about the beautiful Nativities that decorate the homes we visit, or the many store windows around us. We can reflect upon these, thinking about humankind — still very much in its infancy, crying of hunger for peace, justice and liberty. Christmas means standing before the illuminated Nativities feeling the cold, the rejection, the poverty and isolation of millions of babies that long to be welcomed into this world as future leaders in all fields of human and Christian life.

To all of us Christians, Christmas today must mean feeling the responsibility and acknowledging the privilege it means to be part of the transformation of our world into the home where God wants to be born. A baby who wishes to be wrapped in swaddling clothes offered by men and women who search, work, pilgrimage, share, discern, pray and hope that their baby will come with a mind and heart filled with joys yet to be discovered on this earth.

Let us all celebrate with joy and great fanfare that God continues to be born in each man and woman, that he gives human beings the full potential to manifest the holiness of their Creator. Let us celebrate with confetti and squeal with joy for all those who, in the name of Emmanuel — God with us — continue to persevere in their forgiveness, tenderness, patience, gratitude and solidarity. Through their faith in action, they let God be born among us.

We can clearly see the human face of God in each one of these women and men. They have believed, and continue to believe in Jesus, the one who was born in Bethlehem, and who lived a fully human life thanks to the faith of a woman and to the masculine presence of Joseph. They make possible for us to continue working so that everyone can see in us the divine face of humankind on this earth.

Let us make this Christmas joyful through our daily lives in this world, a world that God loves endlessly.

I wish you all a holy and merry Christmas.

Read the Spanish version of this column.

Northwest Catholic - December 2019

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.