10. God Tricked Us

Benedict at the Vatican’s 2008 creche.
Benedict at the Vatican’s 2008 creche. (photo: CNS)

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I’ll review and fill out one of the12 Ways of Christmas” … 

In his (truly) amazing book The Better Part (which our own Circle Press publishes) Legionary Father John Bartunek comments on how God tricks us into loving him properly.

He came not as an Adonis, but as a poor infant child. For us, love means charged feelings of closeness and sweet sentiments. God wants more.

Christmas both demonstrates his way of self-sacrificial love and tricks us into loving him the way he wants.

“Who can resist the charm of a helpless baby?” asks Father Bartunek. “By making himself weak, in need of constant care and attention, he draws us into a relationship with him, a relationship that God has longed to restore ever since it was shattered in the Garden of Eden.”

If this is true of the helpless infant Jesus, it’s even more true of Christ in the Eucharist. He demonstrates self-sacrifice and demands our careful attention once again. Thus, our tenth “way” of Christmas:

“10. Love means sacrifice. God is love, and at Christmas, God tells us what love is. It’s sacrifice. God didn’t become a poet on Christmas; he didn’t become a troubadour; he didn’t become a voice of admiration for mankind. The all-powerful God became a helpless baby and began a life of struggle on our behalf. No wonder gift-giving and hospitality are our chief ways to imitate him at this time of year.”

— Tom Hoopes