Soul Food for Sundays

Soul Food for Christmas Day 2022

Reflections 25th December 2022
Luke 2:1-14

The Author: Martin Kelly C.S.Sp.
calendar_today Date: December 4, 2022 - 3 minutes read

The writer G.K. Chesterton is reported to have said that the only way to understand Christmas properly is by standing on your head. In his own humorous way, he was making a very significant point. 

The birth of Jesus has turned the whole world upside down and we cannot appreciate it by looking at it in the normal way. To see what Chesterton was saying we need to go back a bit.

We are familiar with the story of creation in which God created man and woman in his own image.  So

God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

I remember that when I was studying scripture fifty years ago I asked the lecturer what “created in the image of God” really meant. He gave the standard answer at the time – saying that, like God, we possess reason and will.

I remember being a bit disappointed.  No mention of a soul or body and I was hoping for something more inspirational, more expansive, more to do with all our being, like being able to relate to God and to others.

The reason that I jumped from the birth of Jesus to the story of creation is that the English poet, John Donne, did the same thing four hundred or so years ago when he was reflecting on Christmas.

Donne uses an even stronger image than Chesterton, to reflect the wonder of the incarnation.

In the story of creation, humanity was made in God’s image.

In the nativity, when Jesus was born, God is made in our image – “the Word became flesh and lived among us.”  Donne wrote:

’Twas much, that man was made like God before
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

In the birth of Jesus, not only was the world turned upside down; it is also turned inside out.

Today, more than Christmas seems topsy-turvy much of the time.  The rate at which the world and society is changing and developing can leave us a little dizzy. 

I pray that this Christmas you will be able to take a little time to slow down, maybe even stop for a while and reflect on the reality of “God made man”, of a God who made us and of a God who was made one of us.

’Twas much, that man was made like God before
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

Happy Christmas!  Nollaig faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise daoibh go léir!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Spiritans Emblem

Martin Kelly C.S.Sp.

The Provincial of the Spiritans in Ireland, Fr Martin served for many years in Ethiopia beginning in 1975, a year after his ordination. A native of Lissycasey Co. Clare, he has also worked in formation in Ireland and was National Director of World Missions (Missio) Ireland.