Christmas Day 2017 Entering Joy
We have major feast days, where the Church rejoices. We may not feel as joyful ourselves as the feast would seem to require.
With a little effort on our part, and loads of grace, we can enter into the joys these major feasts convey.
Their reality is so great that there is room for us, like a big house where one can move from one room to another.
We cannot exhaust the richness, the mysteries of Christ, and His coming among us.
We do not allow the difficulties we face to limit us to just a one-dimensional approach. Rather we let the mysteries of Christ lift us to a higher plane of understanding.
Our problems may remain, and may take a lot of fixing, but we ourselves will be focussed more on the goodness of God and how He blesses us.
So we have in the Christmas season some of the main truths of our faith, which we can enter more fully.
One of these mysteries is that of the Incarnation, where God became Man, or the Word was made flesh.
This has been likened to one of us becoming an insect, living with other insects. Would we like that? And what about being killed by them as well?
God has lowered Himself more than that to take on our human nature!
If we maintain a proper sense of the scale of what He has done we are less likely to dismiss it.
It is important to remember the divinity of Christ. Many think He is just another man, just another long-haired prophet!
Or they will say He was just another religious figure, thus downgrading His importance.
Or that He did not really know what He was doing.
No, He was fully aware of what He was doing. There was always a perfect balance between his words and actions.
His death was not a mix-up, or miscalculation; it was planned all along for His own purposes.
This is not just a good man, giving us a few good ideas how to live. This is God Himself come to live among us.
God takes our nature, firstly to live it properly, free of sin; and then to offer Himself in atonement for sins against that nature, before and after His coming.
There should not be any sins after His coming but there have been a great many.
Some do not know about Him. Others know, but somehow it does not sink in far enough.
We need more depth. We become more grateful as we consider what we would have been if He had not come.
The Church today says, Rejoice everyone, because this is a good day for you! And the people might say, Is it? Yes, because you are being lifted up to something better.
Nothing in human history can match this. No war, revolution, tragedy, discovery, advance, accident, disaster can come close to the importance of God's intervention in our world.
Despite all the attempts to suppress Him, then and since, still the message goes out.
This is the one truth that prevails over all falsehood or part-truth. This is light on the hilltop.
All this we celebrate here, and we allow ourselves to be taken up into it.
Christmas takes in all those who do not know its importance, or would even fight against it.
God means to reach every person, regardless of nationality. He is God of the whole world, even if the world does not know.
It helps greatly if we cooperate with the process. Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3,20)
Today we open that gate; we let the Saviour in, to do His work among us. We give Him our full, conscious, willing assent to all that He has in mind to do. He has been resisted too much. No more by us.