December 19, 2007

Why Did He Come Here?

In his book Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict XVI asks this question: "What did Jesus bring to humanity?"

It's a good question to ask and answer during this season. Why celebrate Christmas? Beyond the consumptive commercialism, what does it all mean?

As he reflects on the question, Benedict points out Jesus did not bring universal peace, prosperity, or health and wellness to all. He did not bring an end to war, oppression, racism, sexism, poverty, or natural disasters. So, what did Jesus bring? He brought God.

Jesus brought to us the option of reconnecting with our creator. He brought God into the mess we've made of Earth. He brought God--willing and wanting to live with us, right here, as we are. He brought God's transformative power to lead us to become something greater and more significant than we could ever be on our own. He brought God to us in order to restore our original goodness and greatness.

Jesus (as God) brought God to break down the barriers that separated us from God. If there is a barrier between God and humanity today, we are the ones keeping it in place. God is waiting to be asked into our lives and our experiences.

Forgiven. It means no debt is owed. Whatever may have been the problem in the past, one or more parties has decided to "let it go". It doesn't mean a bad thing didn't happen. Forgiveness never involves calling the bad thing a good thing. Forgiveness acknowledges the injury and pain, but says, "no charge." You are released from your debt--forever. Jesus came to forgive us for walking away from God and insisting on having it our way.

That's why Jesus came here. He came to give us the option of knowing and loving God right here and now, not just after we leave the planet. That's worth remembering and celebrating and acting upon. It's an option worth choosing.

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