Malankara World

Christmas - The Birthday of Jesus

A Christmas Meditation - The Feast of Love

by Fr. Dr. Jacob Mathew, FL

We, as Christians, were told for generations that Christmas is the feast of love. Why do we call Christmas the feast of love? Let us have some thoughts into this question.

Love is the inherent and unconditional longing for the benevolence of the other, no matter who the others are. There can be selfish and selfless love. However, in the case of God, He selflessly longs for the benevolence and betterment of humans and of the whole creation. This is love perfect and it is in this very perspective that we read in the Holy Bible that "God is love". The Eternal teaches us through the Evangelist that this very lesson is the gist of incarnation, namely the "lesson of love".

St. John the Evangelist writes:

'Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.'
(I John 4: 7-12)

First of all "love comes from God and everyone, who loves is born of God and knows God". The God-clad Fathers in the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed have said that the Son is "born of the Father before all worlds". Therefore, being born of the Father before all worlds is the reason for "He being love". The One, who is born of the Father loves humans and the whole creation. Moreover, the ultimate knowledge of God was the Son and it is through Him that we get the fullness of understanding on God. Thus, the pinnacle of knowing God is love. It is in Christmas that we start to know God in fullness and therefore, Christmas is the feast of love.

The Evangelist wrote, "He, who does not love does not know God, for God is love". God is the only reality that is uncreated. Everything else is created by God just as it is known to us through the Creed, 'Light of Light; True God of True God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made;' (cf. John 1:3, 10). If the creation is "made" and God is the maker, there is a distinction between God and the creation. This is the distinction between the Creator and the created, between God and human. Perfect example of this distinction in expression is the divine love. Through God"s love, through sending His only begotten Son to become a human, through Christmas, God walked His talk. In short, it is paramount to say that God is love.

A syllogism comes handy here. God is uncreated. God is love. Therefore, love shall be uncreated. Love, the divine trait, is so intrinsic with God that it is natural to Him. God reveals Himself through love. Love is the medium and language to know God or God talks to us through "the tongue of love". Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, because of the uncreated love between them. Love is the oneness between two or more humans. Further, oneness between any creatures is the reflection of this uncreated love. In the case of celestial bodies, we call this "Oneness" the force of gravity, and between humans, we call it love. Herding animals also know this law of "Oneness", namely love. It is all possible because God is love and the divine love is uncreated.

The Son is "light of light". St. John the Evangelist says: 'The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it' (John 1:5). If the darkness did not comprehend the light, the darkness did not comprehend the love. Christmas is the advent of light and thus, the advent of love. The selfless love that comes into the world is born as a human child and the birth of this love we call Christmas. Christmas is the feast of love.

St. John the Evangelist wrote:

'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life' (John 3:16).

God gave His only begotten Son to the world that He created and loved, just because the world may also have the divine trait of everlasting life. God is offering co-eternity for the creation through the feast of Christmas. As we discussed earlier, love is the language and medium to know God. The creation executes and lives out the language of love by faith in God. In other words, when Christmas is the expression of divine and uncreated love, the response from the side of creation is faith. In other words, reciprocation of divine love is faith.

Christmas taught us to believe. Christmas taught us that there is love in believing. Therefore, Christmas is the feast of love.

Wish you all a very blessed feast of selfless love! Merry Christmas!

Source: ICON

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