As we approach Christmas, December 25th, it is good to focus on the central point of this Holy Day – that is, the manifestation of the God-man, Jesus Christ, to His people Israel. During the Christmas season we also celebrate His manifestation (Epiphany) to the Gentiles.
Jesus came into the world out of love for us, to save us from sin and death and to reconcile us to the Father so that we might share in the life of the Holy Trinity through grace and have unending joy with Him in heaven.
The Incarnation happened when, at the Annunciation, the Blessed Virgin Mary gave her “fiat”, her complete consent, to God’s saving plan by saying to His messenger, the Archangel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” -Luke 1:38. Mary then conceived Jesus in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #494. We celebrate this great Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25th. However, it is nine months later, on December 25th, that we celebrate the first manifestation (being made visible) of Jesus, Eternal Word of the Father.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few key catechetical points regarding the Lord Jesus and His Incarnation.
- Jesus is true God and true man.
- He is the 2ndperson of the Holy Trinity in human flesh.
- He did not cease being God when he became man.
- He is still true God and true man and always will be.
- It was at the moment of the Incarnation that the Eternal Word of the Father took to Himself a human nature.
- Jesus is not a human person. He is a divine Person who has two natures – divine and human.
- He always had the divine nature.
- He did not always have a human nature.
- He took to Himself a human nature approximately two thousand years ago at the moment that our Blessed Mother, Mary, conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The theological term for the union of the divine nature and a human nature in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is “the hypostatic union”.
- Jesus is not part God and part man. He is fully God and fully man.
- It is incorrect to say that Mary gave birth merely to the human nature of Jesus. Women do not give birth merely to natures, they give birth to persons. That is why we rightfully call Mary the Mother of God. *Hint – We should frequently refer to Mary as the Mother of God when we catechize. Like all truths regarding the Blessed Mother, it helps to show forth the truth about Jesus.
- There is not a human Jesus and a divine Jesus. Mary did not give birth to twins. Jesus is one Person, viz. the Second Divine Person, with two natures – divine and human.
- Jesus did not merely take the outer appearance of a man. He became man – like unto us in all things but sin.
- Jesus was born in a stable, into a poor family. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was fond of saying that the greatest power in the world is “the humility of God.”
- God the Son, Who first came into the world in poverty, will, when He comes again, come in glory.
- God became man to reconcile us to the Father, that we “might have life and have it to the full.” He became man to save us from sin and death, so that we may be happy with Him forever in heaven – in the love that never ends!
- For more, please see paragraph #’s 456 – 530 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Have a blessed and joyful Christmas!
Department of Religious Education