At Christmas God embraces us with love Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

In John 3:16 it says, "For God so loved the world that God gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish, but have might have eternal life."

Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote, "Out of love for us, the mighty hands that created the sun, moon, and stars became so tiny that they could not reach up to touch the noses of the oxen who tried to warm him with their hayed breath."

Deeply moved by the infant Jesus, St. Thérèse of Lisieux asked, "Why should we fear God who became a tiny baby?"

Christmas inspires us

Touched and transformed by the gift of Jesus, Christmas inspires us to do loving deeds.

On Christmas Eve, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's guest at the White House. England was being attacked by Nazi Germany and Churchill was seeking America's help to save England. He was exhausted from rushing from one meeting to another, so he retreated to his room.

Harry Hopkins, the president's special assistant, and Diana, his nine-year-old daughter, also stayed at the White House.

Late that evening, someone knocked on Diana's door. She opened the door and stared up at the gigantic White House butler, standing stiffly in formal dress. In his solemn butler voice, he announced, "Miss Hopkins, the prime minister wants to see you!"

Obediently she followed him to the prime minister's room. Churchill apologized, "I'm just a lonely old father and grandfather on Christmas Eve who wanted a little girl to hug. Could you give me a hug?" Diana nodded "yes" and Churchill reached down and gave her a fatherly hug; then, he glanced shyly at the butler, who then very properly escorted the little princess to her royal room.

A Churchill biographer wrote that this image of this powerful world leader revealed another side of him -- a lonely old grandfather who needed a child's Christmas hug.

Loving surprises

God, the Father, filled it with His Son's love through the tiny girl's embrace. This is one of many inspiring loving surprises that happen every Christmas. If we look with Christ's eyes of love, we will discover them.

On that first Christmas, the human race hungered for God's love. Some recognized this hunger. Others denied and repressed it.

God reached down and surprised everyone when he embraced humanity with his Son. Jesus became like us in all but sin so we could become more like Him.

Someone asked a mother which child she loved most. She replied, "The one who needs it most!" Jesus became flesh to share the Father's love with all people, but especially with those who need it most -- war victims, the starving, the rejected, the suffering, the poor, the homeless, and many others.

A family day

Christ was born into a family. Christmas is a family day that offers opportunities to thank God for our family and offer them the present of our presence. One family gives their aged mother a calendar on which they pledge promises of visits and phone calls.

May our Christmas be filled with the wonder of the shepherds, the song of the angels, and the joyful surprise of Mary and Joseph. May we receive the Christ child in the crib of our heart and grow closer in love to our family on earth and in heaven.

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