The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!



From the First Letter of St. John:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life: For the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. "

Whenever I read the Gospel now, I am filled with wonder. I grew up reading books, in fact, it was often my only source of enterainment in my poor family. I liked books on mythology, books on history, books on all sorts of things. But there always had to be a distance; they were all just words and fantasies. But the Gospel... the Gospel is about the Truth, the Truth that became incarnate for our sake, who is a man just like you and me.

When I look at my grandfather, an uprooted Mexican farmer, I sometimes like to think that Jesus is just like him: simple, humble, and with a big heart. He didn't have the world given to him, he had to work with his hands to make ends meet. We often think Jesus was a carpenter, but the word in Greek that describes His occupation is "tekton": He was a manual laborer without any land, just like the Mexican day laborers who stand on the street corners here in California waiting for someone to employ them.

What does God mean by all of this? Why did He come into the world to become the weakest, the most abject of people in His society? He created the heavens and the earth, and He could create an infinite amount of heavens and an infinite amount of earths without really trying. So why?

To show us the answer is not in power, nor in wisdom, nor in accomplishments. The answer is in love. Love is the only real reason God created anything, the only real reason that anything still exists. Our Lord was not a great inventor, nor a great warrior, nor even a great temporal king. But He loved us. He was born for us, and He died for us. And He rose from the dead to show that love is stronger than death. He was a simple nobody, but He was also the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, born in a stable, without any place of His own to lay His head. This is the guy who means everything, all things. He's the answer. And today He was born of the Virgin for our sake.

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
hath shone forth the light of wisdom upon the world;
for therein those who worship the stars
have been taught by a star
to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on
high. O Lord, glory be to Thee!

-troparion of the Nativity, Byzantine Church

Christ is born!

Glorify Him!

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