Merry Christmas! Rejoicing in Jesus taking on our human nature to become one with us so that we might be one in Him forever in heaven, we continue this week with a short selection from the book of Fr Robert Hughes Benson, "The Friendship of Christ":
Jesus Christ took a human soul like our own -- a soul liable to joy and to sorrow, open to the assaults of passion and temptation, a soul that actually did experience heaviness as well as ecstasy -- the pains of obscurity as well as the joys of clear vision -- until this becomes to us, from a dogmatic fact apprehended by faith, a vital fact perceived by experience, a full realization of His friendship is out of the question
For just as in the case of ordinary persons the plane of real friendship lies in the communion of the two souls, so it is between Christ and a man. His Soul is the point of contact between His Godhead and our humanity. We receive His Body
Now the Divine Friendship -- the consciousness, that is to say, that Christ desires our love and intimacy, and offers His own in return -- usually begins in some small way. It may be at the reception of some sacrament, such as we have received a thousand times before; or it may be as we kneel before the Crib at Christmas, or follow our Lord along the Way of the Cross. We have done these things or performed those ceremonies dutifully and lovingly again and again; yet on this sudden day a new experience comes to us. We understand, for example, for the first time that the Holy Child is stretching His arms from the straw, not merely to embrace the world -- that would be little enough! -- but to embrace our own soul in particular. We understand as we watch Jesus, bloodstained and weary, rising from His third fall, that He is asking our own very self in particular to help Him with His burden. The glance of the Divine Eyes meets our own; there passes from Him to us an emotion or a message that we had never before associated with our own relations with Him. The tiny event has happened! He has knocked at our door, and we have opened; He has called and we have answered. Henceforth, we think, He is ours and we are His. Here, at last, we tell ourselves, is the Friend for whom we have been looking so long: here is the Soul that perfectly understands our own; the one Personality which we can safely allow to dominate our own. Jesus Christ has leapt forward two thousand years, and is standing by our side; He has come down from the painting on the wall; He has risen from the straw in the manger -- My Beloved is mine and I am His.