Words of THE WORD: The “senses” of the Incarnation

One of the many gifts of being human is the way reality impacts each of us through the senses, particularly at this time of the year. Our five senses get a workout today and throughout the days of Christmas. No matter where we go, the sights, smells, sounds, touches and tastes - unique and special to this time of the year - draw us into the beauty and power of Jesus’ birth.

Seeing the lights and gifts - all sizes, types and colors - dazzle our eyes and capture our hearts and minds with memories of Christmases past and present, not to mention the giddy excitement so characteristic of Christmas morning.

Smelling the fragrances of Christmas trees, evergreens, and a cooking Christmas dinner hit our noses and remind us that this is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Hearing the sounds of the season, perhaps oddly heard in stores, on radio, cable and Internet since November (if not earlier), shape a new attitude within us. We want to hear the cherished carols that sing the Season’s uniqueness. To sing them in Church is a great bonus for today and all the days of the Christmas Season up to an including the Baptism of the Lord.

Feeling the hugs and kisses, even from those distant relatives whose name challenges our memory, seem so natural. We learn once again that these loving gestures can begin the work of healing damaged, hurt or strained relationships.

Tasting the treats of Christmas, whether the meticulously prepared abbondanza or treats from one’s favorite bakery or family pastry chef, fills us with food and so much more. Even though Christmas dinner takes some time to finish, there is something happening ‘at the table.’

On this festival of Jesus’ birth, He reminds us that as a Divine Person, He knows first-hand what it means to see, to smell, to hear, to touch and to taste. Jesus knows these blessings not just because He is God but because He lived AND experienced each of them in living among us: God-in-the flesh. And so, on the festival of His birth, Jesus reminds us:

I AM the light of the world (John 8:12-20). Jesus stands against the sights and lights that compete for our attention to draw us into the darkness of sin and addiction. The only sight and light that can fill guide our lives is Jesus, particularly the crucified Jesus who willingly gave Himself up to death, death on a Cross for our salvation (Philippians 2:6-11).

As a baby, Jesus received the gift of frankincense (Matthew 2:1-12) – the fragrant offering of the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141). In serving God the Father, Jesus teaches the lesson of proper worship (John 4). Worship of our God and Father directs the course of life and helps to prevent attitudes of entitlement and selfishness.

I AM the Word (John 1:1-18). There is much noise in our lives and in our world. One Word alone is sufficient: Jesus – the enfleshed Word of God. In stillness (Psalm 46) we listen to the One Word Who is the Beloved Son (Mark 1:9-11) and do everything that He tells us (Matthew chapters 5 through 7 and 25:31-45).

I AM the healing touch (John 1:14) Throughout His Ministry, Jesus healed our brokenness by fully embracing human nature. His hands touch our ailments and not only healed us, but raised us to new life (Mark 1:29-45).

I AM the Bread of Life (John 6) placed, when born, in a feeding trough to be food for all. (Luke 2) The food consumed in the Garden poisoned life and severely harmed our relationship with the Divine Persons. The One Who is food Himself beckons us to taste and see (Psalm 34) that we may recognize Him in the “breaking of The Bread.” (Luke 24:13-35).