Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches. It is the beginning of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church, as well. It is a time of both anticipation and preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus at Christmas.
But, why? Why the need for the Incarnation? Why did God find it necessary to come to man as a man; while maintaining His divine nature?
I believe the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explains it best in the following.
We Are Fallen
“God certainly did not create us this way. We are fallen. All the facts support this view. There is a voice inside our moral conscience that tells us that our immoral and unmoral acts are abnormal. They ought not be there. There’s something wrong in us, something dislocated. God did not make us one way. Or rather, he did make us one way. And we have made ourselves, by virtue of our freedom, in other ways. He wrote the drama and we changed the plot. We are not just animals that have failed to evolve into humans. We are humans who have rebelled against the divine. If we are riddles to ourselves, we are not to put the blame on God or on evolution. But we are to put the blame on ourselves. We are not just a mass of corruption, but we bear within ourselves the image of God. We are very much like a man who has fallen into a well. We ought not be there, and yet we cannot get out. We are sick; we need healing; we need deliverance; we need liberation, and we know very well that we cannot give this liberation and this freedom to ourselves. We are like fish on top of the Empire State Building. Somehow or other we are outside of our environment. We cannot swim back into the stream. Someone has to put us back.”
We cannot in and of ourselves fix ourselves, as Archbishop Sheen says. And what needs repair is beyond the means which the world can provide. For it is through worldliness that we have become broken. If our watch is not operating properly, then it is not fulfilling its purpose. In order for it to be made right, the malfunctioning watch must be taken to a watchmaker. For as the maker of watches he can best diagnose and restore the damaged watch to its proper operation. So too, God, as our maker, knows best what is needed to free us of our brokenness and restore us to the rightful purpose for which we were intended. And the consequence of fulfilling that purpose is that one day the obedient will return home to Him.
We could not bring our illness to God as we can take our broken watch to the watchmaker. So God made a house call. He could only heal us by coming to us. And in a wonderfully strange contradiction, by an exchange of the exalted for the humbled, God, the creator of all things, chose to enter His own creation as an innocent child. For it is in the restoration of innocence that our cure is found. God, being God, could have come to man in any manner He chose. Yet, by entering the world through the portal of the womb, as anyone of us has, He impresses the importance and sanctity of life.
The king of kings would not be welcomed by prominent men and women with pageantry, replete with fine trappings befitting royalty. Instead, among those who would receive and pay Him homage were domestic beasts, and men and women of meager means. He was not born of a woman favored among the worldly elite, nor surrounded by comparable wealth. Rather, He would be loved and nurtured by a common and sinless woman of His own choosing; not to be cradled in a regal estate, but the humblest of accommodations; a stable beneath the Earth.
“Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet. All the eyes of wonder and worship which had been turned outwards to the largest thing were now turned inward to the smallest…paradox of the divine being in the cradle.” – G. K. Chesterton (“The Everlasting Man”)