Saint Hilary of Poitiers said, “I will not endure to hear that Christ was born of Mary unless I also hear, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.'” Today we read the Prologue of John’s Gospel and it is an important part of faith in the Incarnation. Christmas has so much humanity about it, and yet we must make an act of faith to be lifted into the true meaning of Christmas. We can tell from John’s first letter how important the truth is, and how tempting it can be to depart from the truth. The “latest Christian breakthrough” should never be something we consent to without “testing the spirits.” Saint Hilary was fighting against those who wanted to reject the Divinity of Christ over a thousand years ago. That’s a heresy we refer to now as Arianism, and even though we could say that we’ve “dealt with it” at this point in the Church’s history, Arianism was very popular for hundreds of years and the same ideas resurfaced in the wake of Protestantism. Even today, the Jehovah’s Witnesses espouse similar principals. The temptation to look at Christmas as a very touching human story of a birth of a religious teacher that took place under adverse circumstances, is the same temptation of Arianism. What’s important about the birth of Jesus Christ is who He really is: God, the Son of God.
Love is from God, as have declared those whom he has made not only his great lovers but also his great preachers.
What does it mean to say that love is from God? Surely this refers to the man who came from God, who was revealed according to the image and likeness of the one who made him? For when this man appeared, he was revealed as the beloved and as worthy of being loved. Now since this Savior has been sent into the world because of the Father’s great love for the things which he has made, those who have received this blessing and who are thus beloved ought to love one another. For each of us is loved and is called to love, having the command that we should love our neighbor.
Lest the Christian life be reduced to mere words – spoken or written – Christ equates His spiritual teaching with a physical act of eating. Jesus would have us be refreshed by Him in the same delightful and satisfying way as eating food. When life becomes difficult and presents sad and complex situations, many people turn to food in both normal and excessive ways to experience relief and joy. Jesus created us to experience hunger, to long for being filled, to be unsatisfied and empty on our own. Eating is the experience of becoming one with something that I desperately need in order to live. Jesus’ major teaching is not about something difficult we need to try to understand. He teaches us that believing is like eating – it makes us one with Him and feeds our deepest need and makes us live. This experience of loving and being loved is central to Christianity. Christ’s Words, His presence, His flesh and blood, are meant to be consumed by us. We can then become divine food with Christ for the salvation of the world. The ultimate joy of being consumed out of love is the new commandment.