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It’s nearly here, finally. As the poet put it, “God was man in Palestine/And lives today in Bread and Wine.” What an extraordinary story. What a miracle. There are two ways to access a story or a miracle, or a miraculous story. The first maintains distance. We may think such a story to be remarkable, even extraordinary, but that is as far as it goes. The distance we maintain probably includes the thought that such a thing can’t happen to me or is remote from the reality of life. We stop for a moment, wonder, and then pick up the remote and change the channel.

We may stray further from such a story by thinking that such things don’t happen in real life, but the story has a powerful moral. Many great fables have a great moral. They may even be inspiring. Christmas is not primarily about inspiration or even moral change. Christmas is about salvation, the return of the world, all life and our lives to its original form and purpose.

One of the reasons why we celebrate Christmas with exactly the same service as we do each Sunday  is that what happened at Christmas (and Easter) has to be accessed or lived into. We can’t just watch, change the channel, turn off the TV and get on with life. We have to live into the story and allow it to possess us and make it true for us.

Christians know that our propensity to make a mess of things, our ability to do the worst of things, our quest to “find ourselves”, instead of losing ourselves, makes all our good intentions feeble. We are so good at self-deception. Only living into Jesus and allowing Jesus to “dwell in us” together enables us to get life right.

“Love came down at Christmas”, the blinding, dazzling, warming love which gives us joy and peace. We have little to give, but if we seek to “love” into the Christmas event, the child who grew in our Lady’s womb promises to grow within us and restore us to the image and likeness of God. So let it be.

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