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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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From beginning to end this was a work of love, by the God whose very being is love, who created us in love for himself, and who in love stoops down to the very lowest part of our need. As another poet, Christopher Smart, puts it:
God all bounteous, all creative,
Whom no ills from good dissuade,
Is incarnate, and a native,
Of the very world he made!
The God whom we know and worship and adore is not a distant God, not a God of ideas and abstractions, but a God who comes to us as one of us, who comes among us in the fragility of an unborn life, beginning as we begin as those formed in the hiddenness of our mother’s wombs – which is why Christians can never be casual about caring for that unborn life, can never treat abortion as no more than a matter of choice. God identifies with us from the very beginning, going, as Bishop Lancelot Andrewes once said, ‘to the very ground-sill of our nature.’ St Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth of how for Christians the power of God was know most paradoxically in the weakness of the cross, the crucified God was the one who saved – yet that foolishness of God, that weakness of God, is already there at Bethlehem in the child laid in the pricking straw of the manger, which devout Christians saw as foreshadowing the sharpness of the crown of thorns of the crucified.
Christmas speaks to us of a God who is love totally and completely, a God who loves us so recklessly and in so overwhelming a fashion, that he comes down to the lowest part of our need. He speaks to us as one of us, as our flesh and blood, which is why St John sums up the mystery of the incarnation as ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. And St John goes on to say that in that total self-giving of love, ‘we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ No wonder the shepherds on the cold hills outside Bethlehem were startled by the angelic armies of heaven singing ‘Glory to God in the highest, and one earth peace goodwill towards men!’ If that is indeed the truth of the God who made the vastness of the universe, and the richness of creation, and who also made you and me, every human being, in the image and likeness of his love, then to live by and from that love and grace which came to us at Bethlehem to take us by the hand, is to live by that which alone can sustain us and transform us, and transform the whole world, into that new creation which is our end, our purpose, and our very being. This is indeed our story and our song; this is our life and our mission to the world; this is the love we are called to live; and this is the eternal life which here and now we are given, as the Child of Bethlehem feeds us with his own life in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. ‘O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!’
It is in that faith and love that I wish you the true and joy and blessing of Christmas.
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