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The Somerset Guardian, 21st December 2022

Once all the secular preparations have been made for Christmas perhaps there is now time to use the remaining days of Advent to prepare for the coming of Christ. An event that is probably even more incomprehensible for the Modern World than it was for the Ancients.

The Greeks and the Romans both thought that God assumed human or even animal form as it suited them and involved themselves in human activity. It is a mainstay of pagan myths but this is not the story of Christ. He became man. Christ did not put on a disguise or wear fancy dress, he was fully human and was like us in every respect but sin.

This remarkable act of abasement is the cornerstone of Faith. Christ, although divine, accepted all the limitations of our condition, as a baby and child he was dependent upon his mother Mary and Joseph his foster father. Although he was recognised by the shepherds, the wise men and St. Simeon, he was not immune from the weaknesses of mankind.

It is for this reason that Catholics in the Roman Rite by ancient tradition, now sadly abrogated in many places, always genuflected when the incarnation was mentioned in the Creed and in St. John’s Gospel. As Pope Benedict XVI writes “in manifesting himself, God shows that he is our Lord not just our idea…we genuflect because now heaven, the veil surrounding God, is torn open, and the mystery comes into immediate contact with us.” The distant God becomes our God, Emmanuel – “God with us”.

This is the remarkable truth of Christmas, God is with us and it opens the road to salvation. No wonder it is a time for celebration.

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