Christmas tells us who we are, why we are alive – God becoming man affirms human dignity

For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of one of the most significant religious, historical and cultural events in the Western world. It marks a turning point in human history, a new era for the human race.

Two thousand years ago, the world was very different from what it is today. This was true not only of material surroundings, possessions and institutions, but more strikingly of human attitudes, relationships and beliefs. Women were considered inferior to men and had comparatively few rights. Fathers had absolute authority over their children, even to the point of putting them to death. Marriage was dissoluble for trifling reasons. Manual labor was relegated to slaves, who were considered chattel and the property of their masters. Religion was intertwined with the state, with the emperor standing at the head of both.

Then, on a day now known as Christmas, in the words of St. John, the “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” This event changed the world. God had come to Earth, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, in the person of Jesus Christ. God assumed a human nature, with all of its joys and agonies, trials and tribulations, thoughts and emotions, sufferings and death.