Again Jesus spoke to them, saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12
God bent low to bring Jesus to earth. Jesus is the center of earth and all creation. “Christ is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).
As we ponder the Incarnation these days before Christmas, we consider this definitive event in Christianity in which divine life spilled over into human life in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Since time began, the Holy One has been radiating light toward Earth in one continuous act of grace. Karl Rahner calls this grace God’s self-communication, an outpouring of the very being of God that not only permeates but maintains our life.
God’s self-communication began with the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. It was in and through God’s grace that stars were born and galaxies were formed. God was present when explosions scattered bits of cosmic matter together in relationship. Divine self-communication continued as Earth entered into orbit around the sun and took shape. God’s grace was present, pushing toward life moment by moment. Through grace came planets and sea life, birds and reptiles, mammals and humans. God’s creative energy could not be stopped!!
The emergence of the first human species was a breakthrough moment in the living world’s relationship with the divine. Our human consciousness, self-awareness, began. We know that we know. We can reflect upon our own experiences. This new human species developed speech and language. Language, flowing out of conscious memore was to set the species apart from all others.
Soon, our species began to make the connection that there was some Other who was bigger than themselves, whose power could be witnessed in nature – the sun, moon, stars, thunder, rain, fire, and water. They recognized some mysterous force! (Italicized section adapted from Judy Cannato’s Radical Amazement.)
Our spirituality realizes we are not alone. There is a gracious power or energy at the heart of all life. This divine force, the Creator who has always been present within all life, revealed itself in the conscious awareness of our human life. In the Old Testament, we hear over and over again how the Hebrew people grappled with God. They saw God as Force or Anger; or as Mother Hen covering her brood. The psalmists prayed to God and sang his praises.
Then God came in the person of Jesus – the Word of God became flesh! The Palestinian Jew changed everything for us. He is the Incarnation – which means God-in-flesh. Through Jesus and his interaction with the Holy One, God “Light” breaks through into life in a way never before experienced. Jesus is able to absorb the gracious radiance of God that transforms those in his midst who are ready to receive Grace!
Jesus began to express his knowledge in a radically amazing way. The universe is able to respond fully to God the Creator in the person of Jesus. We are aware that all life is accepted and included in God’s love and grace. God’s divine energy embraces all that is!
There is a connectedness with all creation. Through relationship with God the Holy One, we are transformed by Love into love. We incorporate Light into our being, and begin to radiate in a way that nourishes those around us with the breath of God. We become compassion, service, wisdom, grace, and love that flows out of the experience of connectedness with Life.
Jesus is the revelation of God in human life! We can become co-creative agents of Love to do the works characterized in Jesus, in Gospel living.
So as you await the birth of the Christ child these last few days before Christmas, we invite you to ponder the light that is waiting to be birthed in you – united in your celebration of Christ’s life and acceptance of your own path of discipleship. Questions for personal reflection are offered below.
May your days be joyous and filled with the love of Christ incarnate, God-made-flesh to live among us.
Peace, joy, and Christmas blessings to all!
S. Olga Wittekind, PhD
Jungian Analyst & Director of Oldenburg Franciscan Center
“The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and in fact, will do greater works than these.” John 14:12 What Works does Jesus call me to do?
“You are the Light of the World… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 How can I be Light to others?