TO RECEIVE FORMATION UNITS
content from Creighton University's Daily Reflections
Robert P. Heaney, John A. Creighton University Professor Emeritus
The church gives us these exact same readings twice each year, on March 25, at the feast of the Annunciation, and today, five days before Christmas. In both cases the emphasis is primarily on God’s act; nevertheless, at the March celebration, we tend to focus more on Mary, her amazing “yes” to God’s invitation, and to the extraordinary hope which is manifest in accepting that pregnancy. But at Christmas time, the emphasis shifts more toward the incarnation. “Incarnation”. That’s not a word we’re likely to encounter in everyday conversation. As Christians, we know that it means coming into flesh, taking on a body. But the ramifications of that simple definition are endless.
The point of the Annunciation story is to emphasize that Jesus, the fruit of this pregnancy, is not a product of human evolution or development. Jesus’ conception in a virgin maiden’s womb is God’s intervening in God’s own creation to create something entirely new, just as God had done at the beginning. Think of the mind-blowing aspects of this act. God chooses to take on our human nature, to live in flesh like ours, by being born to a peasant girl in a subjugated country in the back-waters of a brutal world empire. Think what that tells us about God’s agenda, about what God thinks is important.
In the beginning, when God looked at what he had created each day, he found that it was good. Now he thinks it good enough for him to enter into and become one with. Rather than sloughing off an often troublesome body, God enters into our flesh. As the letter to the Hebrews stresses, Jesus was human like us in all things except for sin.