I've been thinking a lot about Christmas. The fact that I have seven worship services from the 20th through the 24th of December may have something to do with it. I have been convinced for a long time that there are two problems with the Christmas season. First, are all the parallel celebrations that I wrote about previously (Yule tide and festival of lights etc). Second, and perhaps even more significant, is that Christmas has a cute baby in the middle of it and it is very easy for us to get lost in the cuteness of the baby.
So, let's look at the baby. According to the Bible this baby is not just the first born child of a Jewish family of the first century. The Bible says that this child is nothing less than God fully resident in human flesh. The Gospel according to John chapter 1 tells us that the Word (Son of God) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). It adds "No one has ever seen God; God's only Son, he who is nearest to the Father's heart, has made him known (John 1:18)." St. Paul's letter to the Colossians put it this way "For in Him (Jesus) God in all his fullness chose to dwell (Colossians 1:19)."
The great mystery of the Christmas celebration is a miracle beyond our wildest understanding. This miracle leaves flying reindeer and talking animals in the dust. This miracle is that the Creator of the Universe choose to become resident in a human being, Jesus the Christ of Nazareth.
Is it any wonder that the earliest Christians chose the name "Feast of the Incarnation" for the December 25 celebration? The Feast of the Incarnation was a celebration, not just of the birth of Jesus, but of the profoundest moment in history when God became a human being and lived among us.
The great mystery and what followers of Jesus Christ realize, is that God did this for love. God did this to show his love for all of Creation and for the broken humans who, though made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), were in need of redeeming.
Merry Christmas just doesn't cut it in the face of this great mystery and story. So, with two weeks of the crazy season left to go. Let me wish all of you a "Joyous Feast of the Incarnation!"
and a very blessed New Year.