The Christmas Season (Jan 1)
Readings Proverbs 23:22-25, Psalm 8, 1 John 5:1-5
Christmas is the season where we are reminded of the lengths God goes to, the action God takes, the love God shows to demonstrate what the Psalmist says is true:
What are we that you should be mindful of us?
Those born of women that you should seek us out?
You have made us little lower than God,
You adorn us with glory and honour. (trans. Gafney)
Christmas is the season in which we celebrate that God chooses to become incarnate, to take on flesh and live among us, to grow up in community learning the wisdom of his people, formed in the household of Mary and Joseph. God chooses to do this out of God’s freedom and delight in creation. God chooses to draw in near in Jesus to reconcile the cosmos, God desires the redemption of all things, to conquer the fallenness of this world with love.
Christmas is the season in which we recall that God, in Jesus, lives a life of perfect righteousness, not only so this righteousness might be imparted unto us, but so that we might always have the beautiful image of Christ by which to guide and form and shape the Christian life. Christ’s perfect righteousness makes a way for those who follow and believe to also conquer the world. Conquer, not through force, coercion, or violence, but through the small (often unnoticed and unreported) decisions to love the children of God.
Christmas is the season where we are drawn once more to the detail of Jesus’ life – to the way in which he lived so that we might live, to the way in which he loved so that we might love, to the way in which he proclaimed good news so that we might proclaim good news, to the way he confronted injustice and restored wholeness so that we might confront injustice and restore wholeness, to the way in which Christ (born of woman whilst fully God) chose to stand with humanity, to live amongst us in our brokenness, fragility, and hope, so that we Christians (those born of woman though little lower than a God) might stand in solidarity with those who suffer, might live together in our shared brokenness, fragility, and hope, so that we might encourage one another in love and good deeds, being known by our love for one another.
It is such a life, attempted if not perfected, that the proverb speaks,
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
The one who produces a wise child will be glad in her.
Let your mother and father be glad;
Let her who birthed you rejoice. (trans. Gafney)
It is such a life that we attempt to lead, not to earn God’s love, or secure a place at God’s table. No, such a life is lived in response to Christ’s own life, in reflection of God’s own initiating love. Such a life is a response to the determined joy of God to adorn us with honour and glory.
This is the kind of life we attempt to live because of Christmas, because God has chosen to be Emmanuel, with us and for us, in life, death, and resurrection glory! This is the kind of life we live because the Light and Life of the World was not overcome by the darkness, but has achieved for us victory over sin and death. This is the kind of life we live because in stepping in and standing with humanity, Christ – who knew no sin, became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God. This is the kind of life we live because Christ, who in reconciling all things to God, charged us to be ambassadors of reconciliation. The kind of life we live because in Christ we have been made a child of God, and a child of God seeks to keep the commandments of God – to love one another, as God has loved us!
Christmas is the season in which we reflect on what God, in Christ has done for us, so that we might know what we, as those in Christ, might do for others. Amen
Image, Rowan LeCompte and Irene Matz LeCompte Third Station of the Resurrection: The Walk to Emmaus (detail), 1970
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