What Could Have Been by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/12/30 at 9:40 AM

Now that Christmas Day has come and gone for another year, and all the activities associated with Christmas, such as shopping, presents, food and carols have ended, and we have the time and the disposition to think about Christmas and its real significance, it might be well to reflect on the extraordinary gift that the first Christmas was, or, perhaps, better still, if there had not been a first Christmas, if the Second Person of the Trinity had not lowered Himself to become a human (while still keeping His divinity), how would that have affected the world and us? It may be a good time to contemplate what would have happened had there been no first Christmas.

When Adam and Eve were created by God, they constituted the whole human race. God made a pact with them which would benefit them and their descendants. Basically, the pact involved obedience to a small rule about eating the fruit of a certain tree. They broke their agreement and they and we lost out. We called this Original Sin. We are not guilty of this sin, but we were included in the pact, and therefore, the effects.

Since sin is an infinite offense against the infinite God, no human or any number of finite humans could possibly atone for the sin. Only God could do something to rectify the situation. At that point, we were all doomed to Hell, but God is so committed to mankind that He agreed to solve our problem by sending a Redeemer who would be able to make adequate atonement for sin. This Redeemer was Jesus Christ who, because He was divine, could offer an infinite atonement, and because He was also human, could represent mankind in the atonement. In the fullness of time, the Redeemer appeared as a baby on the first Christmas day.

But suppose God had told Adam that he was now on his own and good luck.

1. There would be no Redemption of the human race. We would be doomed to Hell regardless of our  manner of living. There would simply be no hope because there would be nothing to hope for. We would live and die in the state of Original Sin totally helpless and hopeless.

2. Humans would live in a permanent state of spiritual darkness. God began creation with light because future humans were not to be creatures of the dark. Darkness has always been seen to be a negative. All kinds of evils are associated with darkness. To live a condition of spiritual blindness would so enfeeble us that our lives would be a negative existence.

3. Religions, if there were any, would be a hodge-podge of many man-made doctrines by people who had no real concept  of religious truth. They would be subjective with no objective reality. There would be no Catholic Church, founded and guided by Christ to set the standard for truth in religion. There would be no Baptism to take away Original Sin, no Confession to clean the moral slate, no Holy Eucharist to remind us of the ongoing presence of God because Christ would not have come to institute these and the other Sacraments.

4.There would be no divine Revelation (the Bible) because God would be silent. Even if there were a Bible, it would have been useless to help us avoid the coming doom.  We would have been deprived of the divinely-inspired message of God who is all truth, and, therefore, without any guidance toward our end. We would be traveling in a strange world without a map.

5. A divinely-inspired moral code (the Ten Commandments) would be absent in human life. Moral codes would be written by the most various people, and be totally subjective, even to the point of saying, as some say now, that each one should make up his own  list of right and wrong. Therefore, evil of all kinds would abound. Life would be lived in fear of the immoral among us. Human survival demands an objective moral code; society cannot function without it. Yet, there would be none. In fact, it is likely that the human race would have died out  ages ago from the countless evils that humans can invent.

6. Death, rather than being seen as the gateway to eternal happiness with God (if we deserve it), becomes the gateway to Hell. There is no hope for anything better.

I’m sure others could give different and better reasons than I did, but my point is that the Incarnation was a gift to man beyond measure and comprehension. We will never fathom the goodness of God while we are on earth. His goodness is infinite (unlimited), and our minds are finite (limited). Without the busyness of the Christmas season to distract us, think about the awesome events of the first Christmas and how it affects YOU. Try not to see the first Christmas as some historical story, but as an event that directly impacts YOU.

Without Christmas, there would be no Good Friday, and with no Good Friday there will be no Resurrection and without all of these, you (and I) don’t stand a chance.

Christmas is not about a gift, but about THE GIFT.

  1. Great piece, UJ.

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