It’s a wonderful insight to grasp the core of Jesus’ message by realizing the magnitude, the depth of the divine embrace, the depth of Jesus’ ardor for you. It is spiritually inebriating if you let it touch you as deeply as Jesus intends. But there is more! The more here is simply the realization moment by moment that each of us is always and everywhere the beloved of God, someone with whom God is madly in love.
When we live this out, we allow grace to transform our eyes, our minds, our hearts. We experience our brothers and sisters as the beloved ones of God, and interact with them in such a way that this foundational spiritual realization grows in them and in us. We empower one another in family and community to believe this saving gospel truth by the very manner in which we relate to one another.
The greatest gift we can give at Christmas is to so honor our brothers and sisters in our interactions that they realize they are the beloved ones of God. Such honor grants them, as it were, the gift of faith; it makes the truth of the Divine Child's revelation believable. And what is more, something very mysterious happens. Because this is a spiritual gift, the more you give it away, the more it becomes your own. The more you give others the capacity to believe they are the beloved of God, the more you realize it yourself. Unlike material goods, the more you give spiritual goods away, and so empty yourself of your claim on them, the more the infinite God can fill you.
Orazio Gentileschi, 1563–1639, Madonna and Child detail from Rest on the Flight into Egypt 1628. Meditation by Father Isaac.