A Christmas message from NZ Catholic publisher Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn.
During Advent, a friend of mine was interviewed by a radio station wanting to know what Christmas meant for Catholics. My friend began by saying that, first and foremost for us, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.
She was not quite prepared for the response from the reporter who then asked “Who is Jesus?”
The reporter later explained that many of their listeners might not know who Jesus was, but it seemed that she was not too sure either.
It’s a great question for us all to ponder during the Christmas season.
Jesus himself once famously quizzed his own friends on who people thought he was, before focusing the question a bit more awkwardly: What about you? Who do you say I am?
Every Christmas, in Scripture readings, prayers and traditional carols, we are reminded of the great Christmas mystery, namely that God himself took
flesh and was born among us at Bethlehem.
Not just some great religious teacher whose influence on human history has been incalculable, which most secular Kiwis will admit.
We believe something far more outrageous about the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Every Sunday we remind ourselves just who he is:
The Only Begotten Son of God
Born of the Father before all ages,
God from God, Light from Light,
True God from true God,
Begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father,
Through him all things were made.
Christmas has little to do with lavish spending or family gatherings or backyard BBQs.
These often kindly gestures have their place, but Christmas is actually about the stunning truth that, as one poet put it:
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a child on earth for me.
— Bishop Patrick Dunn