The greatest gift of Christmas Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Written by Fr. Donald Lange   
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Every time a baby is born, there is new hope for the human race. I learned this as a high school sophomore when my baby brother was born.

What a miracle of grace! As I studied his perfectly formed hands and feet, I was filled with awe and hope. I wondered who he would grow up to be.

I hoped that he would be bigger, stronger, more athletic, and more intelligent than I was. My sister hoped that he would grow up to be a gentleman.

New hope for humanity

When Jesus was born, there was new hope for humanity. God, the Father, looked at the human race whom he created in the divine image. The image of God in some of us had been so tarnished by sin that had God not been omniscient (all knowing), he would not have recognized his image.

We image God best when we love, but instead of loving each other as God intended, some humans commit sins of hate, jealousy, violence, and even murder. We humans needed to be redeemed from our sins.

Instead of condemning us, God, the Father, had compassion on us. In John 3:16, it says, “Yes, God so loved the world that God gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not die but may have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

God the Father sent Jesus to teach, to model, and to empower us to love. He died on the cross to redeem us from sin which keeps us from loving and ultimately hurts those whom we love. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to love as he loved.

Becoming a helpless baby

Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote that out of love for us, the mighty hands that created the sun, moon, stars, and planets and hurled them into space became so tiny that they could not reach up to touch the noses of the oxen which tried to warm him with their hayed breath.

At birth, babies are among the most helpless of God’s creatures. Without their parents’ love, care, and protection, they would perish. The infant Jesus needed his parents to protect him.

When Herod tried to kill Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt with him and became refugees. Today babies still need the care and protection of adults.

Babies need care, protection

Millions of unborn babies are aborted each year. In baseball jargon, they are called out even before they have a chance to step up to the plate.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 million children under five also die each year. Most are from poor countries and most of their deaths could be prevented.

In recent years, children’s letters to Santa often reveal the hard times that some American families are experiencing. Instead of writing letters to Santa asking for toys and electronic gadgets, more children are asking that he bring their families basic essentials for Christmas such as food, school supplies, and toiletries.

These bare necessities shouldn’t be Christmas luxuries. A Los Angeles child wrote to Santa. “Please bring Mommy some food. She’s been good this year.”

Our gift to Jesus

At Christmas, we celebrate the Father’s gift of Jesus who wants to offer us heaven. What can we give in appreciation of this priceless gift? The greatest gift that we can give to Jesus is to invite him into the crib of our heart.

Christina Rossetti expressed this in her simple but profound little poem, “What can I give him poor as I am, if I were a shepherd, I would give him a lamb. If I were a wiseman, I would do my part. What can I give him? (I will) give him my heart!”

We give Jesus our heart when we accept him as Lord and Savior and follow his ways through time into eternity. To keep Jesus, we must give him away in Christ-like prayer, almsgiving, and loving service to others.

When we do this, we make every day a little Christmas! Amen!

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.