2007 Christmas Message - What is the Incarnation?

Recently I visited the Stella Maris Centre in Fremantle W.A. and with the help of the Chaplain Deacon Patrick Moore updated myself with the work of the Apostleship of the Sea there.  

While we were chatting we both focused on a large picture in the Centre of a seafarer at the steering wheel of a sailing ship with Jesus behind and around him with his hands also on the wheel.  There was a storm at sea and waters lashed over the ship.

Patrick said '€œThe Seafarers really like that picture'€. I can see how they would resonate with it. It portrays the dangers of the sea and at the same time the strong and comforting presence of Christ with them. 

This Faith (and our Faith in any time of danger or difficulty) is well founded because of Christmas '€“ the Incarnation.  

The Incarnation, God'€™s son taking flesh, means many things. 

It means that the Son of God took a human nature. God'€™s Son became a human being. This in itself is so extraordinary that for many people it is unbelievable.  

Incarnation also means that God the Son in a new way became part of human nature '€“ every human being.  Jesus Christ is truly a brother to each of us. He identifies with everyone.  

Furthermore when the Creator became a creature for us in the person of Jesus it meant that God'€™s Son became part of our world in a new way. While nothing had its being but through Him, in the Incarnation God'€™s Son entered into a new relationship with the whole of creation.

In fact what does all this simply mean? It means that Jesus Christ is intimately connected to us and to all of creation. Jesus is deeply within each one of us as well as around us every moment of every day.  

What a wonderful truth and belief!  

Someone who had a strong Faith in Jesus Christ both within and around him was St Patrick. We still have the beautiful prayer that he prayed of St Patrick'€™s Breast-plate'€¦.

'€œChrist with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me,

Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,  Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.'€ 

This is true for everyone in the '€œgood and bad'€ times of life. It applies also to those who serve them in the A.O.S. as well as to every human being in the vicissitudes of life. 

This Christmas let us ask Jesus for a deeper Faith in his Incarnate presence within me and all around me. We ask Jesus in other words to build on the faith that he has already planted there. 

I wish a very happy Christmas to all readers and families and people of good will. My prayer for you is that the Faith we have in this wonderful reality, or rather in this wonderful person of Jesus, will give us in all situations of our life the courage and calm that it gave St Patrick.

Bp Justin Bianchini