Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Filled with the Holy Ghost Elisabeth exclaimed to Mary "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" And so it is with us that on Christmas that we are reminded that the Lord comes to us - comes into the flesh to to heal, teach, and breathe life into lifeless lungs.

Christmas is all about the incarnation of God into flesh to invite creation into the forgiveness of sins, peace, and communion. As Christ immerses himself into the church, Christians turn to one another finding joy in their neighbor - serving them and offering sacrifice. Christmas is not a spiritualizing feeling or sentiment but a bodily communion of God into man and therefore humankind toward and for one another. Christmas is an eternal celebration of the Mass in which Christ is infant, creator, healer, priest, meal, and sacrifice - stretched out high for the forgiveness of sins.

God's great commandment to love one another finds its substance in God's incarnation in Jesus. For in him is creation itself - life and light. God becomes flesh, dwells among us - and lo I am with you til the end of the age. We behold his glory, full of grace, and truth through the precious gifts given in the church. God's advent into man is not only about restoring communion with him but rather communion with one another.

God comes not to be served but to serve His people and and rejoin them into living fellowship and love with each other. This organic reintegration of humanity is given in the present - in Christ's holy meal and word in which an apocolyptic rebirth of creation opens with new eyes of faith and purity. The Christian no longer sees the world with suspicion, fear, anxiety, and shame but rather sees the incarnation of God in family, friend, and neighbor. God becomes man to give himself to all - desiring to to suffer, die and rise for all. Likewise, in God's birth and holy passion we find ourselves in the same dusty path of calvary - that we give ourselves, die in baptism, and daily arise as ressurected vessels.

This new life finds its substance in God's incarnation into man and humanities reawakening with the eyes of faith. The incarnation has everything to do with what it means to now life as a holy saint in Christ church. Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together...

"The believer need not feel any shame when yearning for the physical presence of other Christians, as if one were still living to much in the flesh. A human being is created as a body; the Son of God appeared on earth in the body for our sake and was raised in the body. In the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ inthe body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected community of God's spiritual-physical creatures. Therefore, the believer praises the Creator, the Reconciler and the Redeemer, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the bodily presence of other Christians."

The Christian only through this gift can now sees God's incarnation in creation itself. For God found it disirable to suffer, die, and rise for even the most vile of men. So we are called to find the beauty and richness of God's creation even for the most undeserving of mercy and in the very darkest places. In Christmas, we find a reminder that Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection becomes our very own. As God physically encountered his creation in Christ so we must physically meet each other in concrete acts of love. We are given the blessings of proximity and life with one another - which is itself a gift - that God might support us with a community of human love and prayer.

Christmas reminds us that the church catholic - the holy fellowship of all believers in Christ - is an incarnate body - creatio ex nihilo - an encounter of God in flesh and humanity into and for each other - wrapped up in Christ's holy word and sacrament.

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