Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | The Message of Christmas

December 25, 2023

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, December 24, 2023

The Evangelical Pope | The Message of Christmas

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.


               2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testified to it, and we proclaim the eternal life with the Father, and it has appeared to us.

              __ 1 John 1: 2 (New International Version NIV)


The Vatican, 21 December 1988 | The apostle John, in his first letter, announces to us, with joyful enthusiasm, that "life - that is, divine life, eternal life, God himself as life - has become visible" (1 John 1: 2).


Life can be reached; it can be "seen" and "touched." This is the essential content of the evangelical message, which John insists especially. It is the mystery of the incarnation. The mystery of the Word "who becomes flesh" and comes to "dwell among us."


It is the mystery of Christmas, which we will celebrate in a few days. The infinite life of God, blessed life, the life of perfect fullness, transcendent and supernatural life, comes to meet us, offers itself to us, makes itself accessible to man, and presents itself as possible, indeed as the complete happiness of man.


Who could ever have thought that? We, poor and fragile creatures, often incapable of guarding and respecting our physical and natural life, are we beings made for a divine and eternal life? Who could have imagined it if the infinitely merciful love of God had not revealed it?


Yet this is the destiny of man. This is the lucky lot offered to everyone. Even to the most miserable sinners, even to the most hateful despisers of life. Everyone can ascend to participate in the same divine life since the heavenly Father wanted this in Christ.


This is the Christian message. And this is the message of Christmas.


We all instinctively seek happiness. It is in itself a natural thing. But do we always know where true joy is? Do you, young people? Do you adults know this?


We Christians know where true joy is: in communion with God and with our brothers. In the opening of our minds to the coming among us, at Christmas, of the God who becomes man, who is born like any other child on earth, poor among the poor, needy among the needy.


The most high God who makes himself very small. Without losing his infinite dignity, he takes on and makes our infinite misery his own and hides, in a certain way, divinity behind it.


My wish, brothers and sisters, is that you, too, can bear these "fruits of eternal life" in abundance. May the Holy Spirit, with his wisdom and intelligence, guide you to a more profound knowledge of the Christmas mystery, a mystery of light, communion, and joy in the Lord.


With my apostolic blessing.


Translated from Italian and excerpted from:

GIOVANNI PAOLO II, UDIENZA GENERALE, Mercoledì, 21 dicembre 1988


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