Year A (2013, 2016, 2019, etc.)
The Incarnation: the Word made flesh. The Word, with God from the very beginning and hovering over the creation process with God, is now an infant lying on a bed of straw surrounded by curious animals. The awe and wonder of this incredible breakthrough can become awash in sentimentality and cuteness. Each year we tiptoe up to this amazing gift: God, in human flesh, coming to live among us. Each year we choose our response.
Year B (2014, 2017, 2020, etc.)
The world – that played Christmas carols all through the penitential season of Advent – has packed away the ornaments, taken down the Christmas trees, and has moved on to after-Christmas sales. We gaze in wonder at the gift shimmering before us that we have barely unwrapped, let alone begun to understand. God among us – the Word made flesh. So we make the only response we can: we celebrate! We keep the greens in the church and sing the Christmas carols. We are being nurtured for the work that will be given us to do.
Year C (2015, 2018, 2021, etc.)
The Gospels appointed for these two Sundays after Christmas offer a fitting conclusion to Advent’s mystery of “both/and” time. The first Sunday is from John’s Gospel a mystery-laced view of the divinity of Jesus, “The Word became flesh and lived among us.” The second Sunday is a very human story of the little boy Jesus. Just as Jesus was both human and divine, we also balance two worlds: the world in which we do our day to day tasks — a world mostly unaware of its true potential — and our life in Christ: “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)