That the World Might Be Saved

Most of us have heard the Christmas story so often that we could recite it practically verbatim. We’ve probably looked at the Nativity of Christ from just about every angle and through every lens.We’ve asked ourselves if there would have been room at our inn, if we would have left our flocks and fields to find the baby in the manger, if we would have completed a long journey just because we had seen a strange star. We’ve tried to imagine how Joseph felt and considered what Mary pondered. We’ve reflected on the smell of sheep and the gifts of kings, and the poverty of the Holy Family.
And yet, the story of the Incarnation can never be exhausted. Even those of us who have no trouble remembering the fifth verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” can always find something new. It is because God’s leap from heaven to earth leaves us breathless and astonished.
The very idea that the Creator of the Universe would allow himself to be swaddled and laid in a manger is at the precipice of what anyone could believe. Gods are mighty after all, aren’t they? At least, aren’t they supposed to be? But the Gospel of John tells us otherwise. “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God is mighty, but he is merciful, not menacing. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). In other words, the God who could have judged us unworthy, did not come to judge us at all. Instead, he came to save us.
There are too many days I go out into the world looking for a fight, and too many times I approach others ready to judge or condemn. That is not how or why God sends any of us out. Perhaps in this Year of Mercy Christmas, we can put those kinds of destructive dispositions aside and embrace his mission of salvation. Perhaps, we can finally receive the mercy we are meant to give. Whatever we are called to say or do, may we do it without condemnation, and so that the world might be saved.

Copyright 2015, Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

Jaymie Stuart Wolfe

Author of Adoption: Room for One More? (2015), Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight mostly-grown children. She has written and edited numerous books for both adults and kids, and works for Our Sunday Visitor as an Acquisitions Editor. Under Loaves and Fishes Ministry, Jaymie reaches out through word and song as an author, columnist, speaker, and musician. She is a co-founder of Live + Jesus, a group embracing the spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales and promoting the Works of Mercy in daily life. A graduate of Harvard University, Jaymie also holds a Master of Arts in Ministry degree from St. John's Seminary in Boston. Jaymie lives in Massachusetts with her husband and family (and a continually evolving menagerie of exotic and ordinary animals). Follow Jaymie @YouFeedThem or connect on FB, Amazon, Goodreads.

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