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The Church serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for human society as it is to be renewed in Christ and transformed into God's family. [ Gaudium et Soes #40]

Some Christmas Thoughts through the Years (Part Two)

Updated: Jan 3


In the previous blog I shared some of the ways I wrote as a pastor about the theological mystery at the heart of Christmas.  But probably my favorite way to express this mystery has been in a more poetic way.  Thus, part two of my Christmas thoughts.

 


I. A Tribute to the Cappadocians


Humanity—yearning, striving, laboring, wondering—duality never escapable.

Divinity—Unbegotten Origin, ecstatic and emptied Word, responsive and profligate Spirit—tri-personally enfolding creation, life, humanity.

Holy and blessed Christmas.
Jesus is born.

To be is to become God.

 


 

II. Given and Received


Love ecstatic and excessive

Neither measured
          nor partial

not necessary
               nor as reward
                             or predictable pattern
 
never reducible
              or an afterthought

 The divine Word enfleshed
 
but

from eternity
wholly other...
 
  unexpectedly
        freely
as gift...
                
             fully
overflowing.

God’s embrace of humanity

 

 

 



III. The Ultimate Response


Life’s challenge, even taunt:
from where and for what were we born?
 
Christmas:
Divinity’s whispered, enfleshed response.
Our origin and end revealed.

Purposeful love not capriciousness.
Joyful trust not despair.
 
 

IV. The First Word


Those first ‘words’ of the newborn Word:

a cry for breath and life,

a cry of need and desire,

a cry of vulnerability and fear. 

The cry of every human being.

A cry within the heart of God.

 

May all of our ‘words’ make that heart of God better known.

Blessed Christmas.

 

 

 

V. The Beginning Is in the Ending


The birth of that child many years ago

—what does it mean?

 

Poised on the brink of the ‘big bang,'

would we have foreseen a universe alive and able to know itself?

 

If we saw only the seed and never the mature plant,

would we understand?

 

The single-celled embryo holds promise.

But of what?

The wonder of the human person fully alive

turns promise into sacred trust.

 

We pretend to trace clear paths from beginnings to endings,

but in a world of probabilities,

chance, and uncertainties,

isn’t the beginning only fully known in its ending?

 

The beginning: God risked becoming nothing in creation.

The ending: so that all creation might become one with God

 

As we celebrate that day of birth,

may its ending unfold more deeply within us.

 

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

VI. Hebrews 1:1-2


Here and there, we catch fragments of the picture. 

Like the prophets of old, some experience of love or friendship or beauty;

an insight into the true nature of things;

an act of self-giving or abandonment

—tease us, beckon us, even shake us violently to question and to ponder.

 

May our embrace of this feast of Christ’s birth

bring those fragments of our lives

into a threaded whole.

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