Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
The past few days and weeks, i’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas and how it should change my life in this new year. Christmas, the Nativity of God as one of us, is about the universal and individual re-creation of humanity; it has to do with a Person to be lived so as to become more fully human. A line from one of my favorite Christmas carols, O Holy Night, gets right at the heart of what I want to say: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining until he appeared and the soul felt its worth.“
The brokenness and deprivation that echoes throughout the universe is not normal. Humanity was created in a state of original holiness, meant to experience never-ending bliss. Death, disease, and sin, collectively known as Original Sin and its Effects, or corruptibility, is the “natural” outcome of the first sin, which was committed by the first man, the head of humanity, in collaboration with the first woman, the mother of all the living (more like all the dead and dying). The perfect man and woman freely and willfully chose to sin against God, the One Who is Love Itself (God in Himself is Love: Lover, Beloved, and Love between Lover and Beloved) thereby opening the door to corruptibility (including inclination to sin; not total depravity) affecting all of creation. It is only Love that can restore and make things new… which is exactly what happened.
Because Adam was the head of humanity, all of humanity receives his inheritance by transmission. “For as in Adam all die… ” The offspring of Adam is ordered to the disordered pattern of Adam like cars in a defective assembly-line. But God is Love… so he made all things new by entering into Adam’s line: “even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The Eternal comes down to the temporal and elevates it to himself! (Obviously God did not have to do this nor did he have to do it in this way.)
A new Adam was born on Christmas: God himself took a human nature so as to reboot humanity as its new head that it could be lived according to his pattern: incorruptibility! Even before Bethlehem and Calvary (but by virtue of in its future merits), God the Son created a new Eve, of whose virginal flesh he took conception and birth! Now, If God the Son shares in our humanity (thereby perfecting it), we can share in his Divinity, becoming sons of daughters of God the Father. The inheritance of the new Adam becomes our inheritance. In baptism, we put off Adam and are clothed in the New Adam: Jesus.
Christmas is God becoming man that man might become like God! Again, the Almighty could have restored humanity in a snap. He did not have to be conceived and born of Mary, the New Eve, but he chose to, out of love (which involves humility and selflessness.) What Divine Humility that God became a poor creature (while remaining God) for our sakes: “For your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (2 Cor. 6:9.)
God changes and sanctifies everything we experience by undergoing it himself including poverty, pain, human development, and work. His humanity empowers our humanity and becomes the gateway of participation in his Divinity which can transform us from “glory to glory” until we “attain… the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” This brings me to what was mentioned at the beginning: living the grace of Christmas. I need Christ because i don’t know how to be myself. Jesus Christ shows us how to be fully human, and with our free-willed cooperation, makes us more fully human. In 2012, i want to better cooperate with the grace of God. In other words, I want to make the best use of the ultimate Christmas present.
*God, the One Creator of Existence: Father (Speaker), Son, (Word), and Holy Spirit (Breath). Tri-Unity..