“How many days until Christmas?” I asked Mom as I stared at the gifts underneath the Christmas tree.
“It’s already here,” Mom replied.
“Goodie! We can open presents!”
“You are the present,” she declared as her face lit up with a warm grin. “Christ has already come into the world and placed the gift of Divine love in you, in me, and in each of us. We celebrate Christmas as a reminder that God continues to birth compassion into the universe through our very lives.”
I didn’t understand what Mom meant back then. I was ten years old, and just wanted to open presents. But as I matured, her wisdom revealed itself through these words of Meister Eckhart, a Dominican friar born in 1260:
“What good is it for me if Mary gave birth to the Son of God 1400 years ago and I don’t give birth to God’s son in my person and my culture and my times?”
It’s time to embrace this truth: we are the incarnation of Christ. We have been gifted with the DNA of divine love so we can birth compassion into the world through our hands and feet—our lives. Like Mary, we are pregnant with God, filled with the Holy Spirit.
To be “full of grace” is to give birth to God’s unconditional love and power, to know we don’t have to be perfect, and to realize our imperfections are part of the heavenly plan that molds our human hearts into sacred hearts.
Christmas is a time to reclaim ourselves as God’s gift to a world that waits for us to be light bearers through our daily words and actions.
It’s often easy for us to see God in others—the poor and downtrodden. Yet we get uneasy when we focus on the divine spark in ourselves. It seems sacrilegious to say, “I am the light of Christ.” But that’s who we are—we are made in the image and likeness of God, called to bring peace, love, and joy into an unfolding universe.
Until we claim Divine Presence in ourselves, we have difficulty seeing it in others. Rather than working on fixing our self-esteem that ebbs and flows like ocean waves, maybe it’s time to focus on letting God continually birth the Great Self that dwells within us. As St. Teresa of Avila says, “Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon God in yourself.”
This Christmas season I want something deeper than pausing for a day to open gifts and thinking “Hooray, Jesus was born this day!”—and then after the holidays going back to the world of making money. I want to live into the reality of how my own humble labors can give birth to divine compassion.
Perhaps living each day letting the grace of God’s unconditional love flow in and through us is what Mom and Eckhart mean when they talk about giving “birth to God’s son in my person and my culture and my times.”
Maybe we are pregnant with God, and if so, we are part of the second coming of Christ.
—brian j plachta