Monday, December 21, 2009

Incarnation -- The Soul of Christmas!

"Incarnation" is a tricky concept. On the one hand it comes very dangerously close to the myths of various religions of gods masquerading as humans. The story of the Virgin birth makes a powerful hermeneutical point, but it is more helpful to think of Jesus as the man who in his self-constitution made the Divine Logos so part of himself that he was indeed its incarnation. Put that way, each of us is an incarnation of God -- and that is not by itself an argument against the incarnation. But that does not exclude the uniqueness of Jesus' response and his paradigmatic status for all of us, for all our responses are always tainted by that selfishness and self-seeking that make goodness so fragile in all of us. Because Jesus so perfectly responded to the Divine Logos, he gives us a glimpse of God: the element of tenderness that continually summons our universe to heights of benevolence, charity, intelligence and beauty. There is something at work in our world that lures us to these heights. That is the worshipful element -- the Divine -- in our world, and Jesus gives us a glimpse of that. Christmas is always an offer -- the offer for us in our lives to respond as Jesus responded, by including him in our self-constitution, our self-definition. And what enthralls me most about Christmas is that it is the season of tenderness. There is a point to the creche: the animals, the hay, the angels, the humble shepherds, even to Santa's reindeer. All that utters one word: tenderness. And Christmas is about the immense power that there is in tenderness. A blessed Christmas to all, and the promise of a God-filled, God-touched New Year.

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