Saturday, December 26, 2015

The day after Christmas

On Christmas day, we sing carols and remind ourselves of the birth of Christ into the world. We are amazed at the wondrous generosity and the "great mystery" (magnum mysterium) of God being born in the flesh, the Infinite being wrapped in swaddling clothes, the Son of God being born of a virgin. The magnificence of the paradoxes entrance us, and we contemplate these things, like Mary did, in adoration and reverence.

But what about the day after Christmas? What life do we live in the world, knowing that Christ has entered into the creation which came into being by his own word and power? Certainly we cannot live the same, knowing now that Christ is in the world and that some unbelievable miracles took place when previously we had only known violence and darkness and chaos! 

Post-Christmas life is not the same as pre-Christmas life. If previously we walked in darkness, now we have seen a great light (Isa 9.2). Indeed, it is the Light of the World, who enlightens everyone, that has come into the world (John 1.9). Our lives cannot be characterized by the same confusion and hopelessness and wandering, if truly we have come to believe the gospel message of Christ's birth. Who can still be gloomy and sad and doubtful, if God himself has taken such incredible measures to bring his kingdom to the world?

The Virgin Mary sang it rightly: He has shown his strength with his arm (Luke 1.51). What to the minds of unbelievers is an absurdity and an impossibility, God has accomplished in the most miraculous manner: the Logos of God has come into the world, born of a virgin, the divine nature united with the human in a single person. In the light of this demonstration of God's capacity and wisdom, how can I entertain any doubts or fears that he will take care of me? Or that he will take of the world which he loves so much?

The Light which enlightens every man has come into the world. Whereas Christmas begins with adoration and wonder, post-Christmas life is a process of learning from the incarnate Wisdom of God. Rightly the scriptures tell us, Do not rely on your own understanding (Prov 3.5). This is why Christ has come into the world: so that following after the Light, none of us would walk in the dark any longer. If anyone wants to know what is right and what is wrong, he ought to pray in gratitude to God, because Christ has come into the world to teach us how to live before God. If anyone wants to know how truly to be human, and what sort of life is good for a human person, now the Creator Himself has stooped down to unite himself with the creature, so as to teach the creature what sort of life is good for him.

On the day after Christmas, filled with hope and eager anticipation of the arrival of God's kingdom, we prepare ourselves for that wonderful transformation of the entire created order by purifying ourselves, just as he is pure (1 John 3.3). Today we begin our first lessons in the school of Christ, the embodied Wisdom of God, who teaches us how to be.

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