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These Statements About Christmas Are Scandalous Because They’re True

St. John, whose feast is today, is its greatest poet of Christmas: “In the beginning was the Word … and the Word became flesh.” His phrases entail a lot of less poetic statements:

  1. “God was a baby.”
    2. “God nursed.”
    3. “God was an embryo.”
    4. “God was a zygote.”
    5. “Mary is the Mother of God.”

These are shocking statements that are nonetheless true, because Christ is one person with two natures. The two natures were human and divine. The One person he is, is the second person of the Trinity, a divine person.

These things seem startling to us. But that’s the point of Christmas.

God is infinitely greater than us. The divine is incomparable to the human. When Muslim scholars are scandalized by the Incarnation, it’s not because they’re wrong, but because they’re right: God is unapproachable. He is, says St. Paul, an “all consuming fire.” The idea of the Incarnation would be absurd if God himself, who can do whatever he wants, didn’t do it and tell us about it himself.

Ultimately, Christmas reminds us that these sentences are just as shocking as those above:

  1. “God was a man.”
    2. “God ate fish.”
    3. “God was a carpenter.”
    4. “God was the friend of sinners.”
    5. “Our actions are part of God’s plan for salvation.”

Once you’ve said all that, it’s an inch, not even a hop, to “God was an embryo” — and from there, we go further. God is the host at Mass as well.

St. John said, “The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us.” That is, “made his tent among us,” or, as we put it, “dwelt among us.”

He is in the tabernacle, waiting, even now.


Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.