Venite adoremus: Come, let us adore (him). We are in the midst of our celebration of the octave of Christmas, that eight-day period in which we Christians rejoice over the birth of our divine Lord. And I would like to point out to you how unique is this celebration. Why unique? Because we are adoring a baby. Babies are human; humans are not adorable. So why do we sing “come, let us adore (him)” and do, in fact, adore the baby boy lying in the manger? How can you adore something that can't talk, can't walk, can't feed itself or tie its shoes, and wets its pants frequently? We can adore such a baby because we know that that baby is, in fact, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, the Incarnate Word, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
The word “incarnation” means “coming into human flesh.” And if someone comes into human flesh, he or she takes upon him- or herself all the attributes of humanity: gestation within a womb, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, vulnerability, and mortality. When we think of the Infant Jesus in the manger; the boy playing in the streets of Nazareth; the 12-year-old who remained in the Temple one time when his parents had left Jerusalem for Nazareth – and had done so without telling them that he was staying behind! – we adore him. When we think of the young man “about thirty years old” who came to the River Jordan so that his cousin, St. John the Baptist, could baptize him, we adore him. When we contemplate him standing on a hillside over the lake of Galilee, preaching to great crowds and feeding them miraculously with a handful of bread and small fish, we adore him. When we think of him sweating blood while in an agony of fear and depression in the Garden of Olives, we adore him. When we think of him being beaten, crowned with thorns, and then led in a pitiable state to be crucified outside Jerusalem, we adore him. And when we see him hanging in intense pain on the cross and crying out, “It is finished,” we adore him.
Ah, but then, when we think of him risen from the tomb, beautiful, victorious, triumphant, we adore him more than ever and cry out with the no-longer-doubting Thomas “My Lord and my God!”.
So at both ends of his life on earth: his attractive infancy and his magnificent resurrection, we adore him. And during this Christmas octave, we joyfully say and sing, Come, let us adore Him.
Fr. Victor Brown, OP
May your Christmas season be blessed with peace and joy.