Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Ivory Cubicle | Joy to the World

Christmas today seems to have lost its point. Most of American society today goes one of two directions with the holiday. On one hand, you have the secularization of the holiday, with all its consumerism, tolerance, and other such things that you would expect from a non-Christian relativist culture. On the other hand, you have the radicalization of the holiday, as Christians loudly sing all the Christian songs, angrily say the word “Christmas”, and in general make a point to be as caustically pro-Christmas as possible. Both miss the message of the Incarnation.

So it bears being reminded of what we already know  the story of Christmas.

It starts at the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. He created man and gave him full authority over creation. He instituted communion with man, he walked with man. And yet man blasphemed his creator. He arrogantly spurned the command of the all-powerful God upon which everything exists. He severed his source of life and divinity.

The response was breathtaking. With man now tainted by sin, the logical next step would be an eradication of blasphemous scum from an otherwise perfect world and perhaps another creation of the imago dei. Yet God loved us, and promised redemption. Through the eons, He chose and endured a people who continuously spurned and rejected Him, and He reminded us of the promised Emmanuel – the restoration of communion, God with us.

And then on Christmas, He became incarnate. The very word of God, the Logos, by which all things were made, and in which all things live, move and have their being, became flesh and dwelt among us. The perfect God of the universe emptied himself of his divine rights and dwelt in a body cursed by the blasphemy of His own creation, that He might be agonizingly crucified by the very people He came to restore communion with. That blasphemous creation upon whom, mysteriously, “His favor rests.”

It is a sacrificial love so inhuman, so transcendent, so divine. It overflows the limits of human sensibility, it is written throughout the fabric of the universe, yet we can only absorb small glimpses of it.

And in it, we find ourselves utterly disarmed. Any objection we can raise, any assertion of rights, any act of ego we dare to mount is so absurd, so irrational that the mere mention of it in the face of an all-loving God is our utmost shame. Instead, we find a command to love. To love sacrificially and unconditionally, to evangelize and spread this Gospel to all.

So the mystery of the incarnation is that our Lord is come, that he is bringing joy to the world, that he has come to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”


by Nick Barden

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