The Wonder of Christmas

December 8, 2009JoshuaDbauIII

adventIn this season of Advent, despite our hectic circumstances, it is necessary to reflect upon the Christmas Gospel. Advent literally means ‘coming’, to reflect upon this ‘coming’ I pose this bit of scripture, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (Jn, 1.14)

This is a factual and concrete message which is addressed to all humanity, which the evangelist himself received. To the writer this is not an abstract thought or some sort of metaphysical principle. It is reality, the reality of the coming of Christ. Advent is an event which happened and which is still happening, to the writer it is as certain as his own existence, and as self-evident as the truth of any axiom.

In the event of Advent, God has spoken and still speaks. As Barth puts it, “All abstract thought and metaphysics, everything one might know and say of God as Thought, Power and Deed is summed up and completed by the fact that God has spoken and still speaks. Yes, God!”

This emphatic YES is God’s answer to the restoration and recreation of the earth, humanity and the cosmos. God speaks to us like humans for only humans can truly confront humans in meaningful ways. This coming is the highest expression of the Word of God God’s-self, it is neither a symbol nor an mystical appearance nor neurotic experience, rather it is the first and the last word. This is the Christmas Gospel.

God enters our world not as a mere facsimile of humanity, but God enters our world in all our perversion, disorderliness and our utter failures at decency to give us hope. This God becomes one of us in order to give us that which we have never held before. This God enters into our realities and announces that God’s Kingdom has room for all of us.

This is not an announcement just for the rich ones, the good looking ones, the holy ones, the powerful ones, the charismatic ones, the athletic ones, the charming ones, thought God’s Kingdom has plenty of room for them too. This God announces that God’s kingdom has room for the failures, the ones who never seem to get it together, the addicted ones, the socially awkward ones, the socially unaccepted ones, those who have had abortions, those who have committed murder, those whose lifestyles are not accepted by the religious, this announcement proclaims that this God blesses them. This God is scandalous as all are welcome, all are accepted, all are forgiven. The Gospel of Christmas is hope. This hope rests in faith, and faith rests on the fact that the Word “dwelt among us.”

At times it seems to me that there is nothing more pleasing as to deeply contemplate God’s coming to dwell among us. In this season of Advent I strongly urge any who are sincere to drink deeply of God’s revelation or love. Christmas is still changing the world, the Christmas season is a season of renewal, a season of reflection.

This is the season in our culture where we cannot afford to only think of ourselves, in spite of our materialistic culture we are encouraged to think of others and to give. We are encouraged to allow the power of this Advent season to make the world brighter, as we celebrate the coming of the Light of the world. Christmas can still change the world.

For more on Christmas and Theology read
Christmas by Karl Barth first published 1926-1933, translated edition1959
Or God to

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