Saturday, December 24, 2011
Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke to his baby son and those with him, “He has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior … and you, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Would God have chosen to be “enfleshed” if we had not sinned? We might never know. Why does God desire to be “one” with his/her creation?
God loves me, so he wants to save me from my sin. But perhaps the principal reason for the incarnation is love, not sin. Karl Rahner asks God to “adapt Your word to my smallness, so that it can enter into this tiny dwelling of my finiteness – in the only dwelling in which I can live – without destroying it.”
In the long dark hours of Christmas Eve-ning, full of party and laughter, silence and prayer, gifts given and received, Jesus quietly comes to earth. His voice is recognizable, just a baby’s cry. He is indeed tiny and unassuming, his birthplace the stable, his crib the manger. He fits into our world and destroys nothing.
Nothing, that is, except the foundation for our falseness and ego-driven striving. Fear is replaced by joy, and the economy of scarcity with abundance. Jesus, tiny baby that he is, owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And he rejoices to share them with us.
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ.
Rahner asks God, “Don’t tell me everything that You are; don’t tell of Your Infinity – just say that you love me, just tell me of Your Goodness to me.” *
John writes, “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we saw his glory.”
This was not our end, Jesus, but our beginning. You do not crush us, you raise us up. When you come down to earth, you bring us into your arms, your bosom, your kingdom. We are not consumed by you, but made whole. You are the Lord.
*Quoted by Elizabeth Johnson in Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, p. 39.