On Christmas Eve we watched “The Nativity Story.” We had seen it before, and I was still irked over Mary’s reaction to her parents, but I do not judge that it takes too much away from the overall film.
What the film, this time around, really had me, and still has me, thinking about, was Him. How He became Man. And not just a man, but a baby. A poor, defenseless, dependent-on-others-for-everything-ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, Baby.
It’s no secret – unless you never knew this about me – that I, like so many others, have struggled at times with my Faith. There have been and are times when I can be sitting at Mass, or in the Chapel, and I wonder…are You really there?
After having watched this film again, and seeing the portrayal of His Birth, this question arose yet again. Are you really God? Is God really real?
Why? Why would you create a flawed human existence? If You are God, why? Why do you need us? You don’t! The Catechism tells us:
355 “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”218 Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is “in the image of God”; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created “male and female”; (IV) God established him in his friendship.
I. “IN THE IMAGE OF GOD”
356 Of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”.219 He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”,220 and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
- What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good.221
357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.
358 God created everything for man,222 but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:
- What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honor? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand.223
359 “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.”224
- St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. . . The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: “I am the first and the last.”225
What does this all mean?
With my limited understanding, I take it to mean that He created us just because. We are “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake[.]”
He created everything for us and in return, “[we] alone [are] called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life”. This is the reason we were created. And due to this we also have inherent dignity.
But still, why? Was God lonely? Was He bored?
He created all the angels, all Nine Choirs! So why?
And believe me, I do understand that a lot of what leads me to question is my own sense of brokenness. My unworthiness. Thus, the whole inherent dignity sometimes goes over my head as the world does not treat us as such, as having this inherent dignity.
And yes, I do know that His ways are not our ways…(Isaiah 55:8-9), hence the whole having such a difficult time with Him.
Once I can, sort of, come to terms with His creating us just because, then I become overwhelmed with His choosing to be a helpless Babe.
He chose our Blessed Mother. He was not going to trust His only Son to just anyone, that much I get. She was Immaculate. Conceived without the taint of Original Sin. All that, makes perfect sense. He is God after all! He wanted a clean and perfect vessel.
He also chose St. Joseph. The model for all men. I get that.
But still, this poor, defenseless child…Our Saviour, He needed us…them…to raise Him. He Trusted US! Mere Humans…would you?
There is a scene in the film where Mary asks Joseph if he ever wonders about how and when they will know when He is more than just a Child. St. Joseph’s response is so humbling, exactly what one would expect from this model of human men, “I wonder if… I will even be able to teach Him anything.”
When I am filled with doubt, with questions, I simply have to go back to history, to simple facts. He was born. He was raised by Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. He existed! He became Flesh.
Can you imagine, raising God?
God chose to be among us! To be like us, merely to save us…
The words that He came as a child, “a Messiah for the lowest of men to the highest of kings” makes sense.
Who can look upon the face of an innocent Baby and not feel tenderness? Feel their protective nature kick-in?
I am sure that there are some who do not necessarily feel this, King Herod comes to mind…but for the vast majority of us, a baby equates with the purest of love.
And He is Love.
A baby is accessible to all. A baby knows no hate, no distinction, a baby smiles to us all. As He does.
He came to us as the most defenseless among us, in order that we could and would always believe that He knows us. In every respect. He loves us that much…as undeserving as we are, He Loves Us.