A New Beginning

This year was definitely one for the history books with so many changes, rules and restrictions that affected all people everywhere. These life changing events included lockdowns, isolation, quarantine, wearing face masks, working from home, worshipping from home, panic buying, religious and national days cancelled and so on.

Some time ago, another life changing event happened. However this was not life threatening and to the dread of humanity, but rather it brought life and was in accordance with God’s perfect will and absolute love for us. This event surpassed all historical events before and since, being the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was so significant that it divided history into two, that is Before Christ (BC) and Anno Domini (AD, being Latin for “in the year of our Lord”).

Despite its eternal significance, this event at the time remained mostly unnoticed by the world. Besides Mary and Joseph, only some local shepherds were immediately present, and the Magi visited later. “So humble is our Lord, that He being God did not consider it robbery to take the form of a servant and become man” (Philippians 2:6-7). Can you imagine, the incarnate God who is co-creator with the Father and the Holy Spirit, refers to Himself not as Saviour, or Lord, or Son of God, but as “the son of man.” What humility! What love! What a God!

But the question must be asked, “why did God become human?” We know that after the tragic fall of Adam and Eve, creation was left disconnected from the Creator and plunged into spiritual darkness. It was necessary then for “the light of the world” to be manifest into the world to guide mankind out of this darkness (John 8:12). His birth ushered in the age of grace whereby those who believe become a new creation, reconciled to God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). The Evangelist alludes to this when he writes that the Holy Spirit will come upon and overshadow the Virgin (Luke 1:35), in the same way the Spirit of God moved over the waters before creation (Genesis 1:2).

The angels chant “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). This peace refers to the reconciliation of Heaven and Earth and our reconciliation with God. The good will (ευδοκία), according to St Nikodemos the Hagiorite, suggests that the Incarnation was the original will of God so as to give humanity the ability to become deified, to become “godly” by grace. This was only possible through the hypostatic union of the divine (uncreated) and human (created) natures of Christ. Thus Jesus would always have lovingly united Himself with His creation, whom he made in His image and likeness, and the Incarnation was not in response to mankind’s fall.

What changed in the original plan was that the fall of Adam and Eve brought mankind’s need to attain salvation and be reconciled eternally to God through the crucifixion, death and resurrection of the God-man Christ. A new beginning for humanity, a restart which commenced with the Incarnation of Christ.

May this Christmas and new year be a new beginning for all of us. Not merely a return to a “new normal”, but a renewal of our spirits through Him who is the beginning and end of all things. History has taught us that events come and go, that importance and urgency today is forgotten and neglected tomorrow, but the mercy and love of God endures forever. If we accept this, our lives will not be reduced to a meaningless series of events, but will be unique opportunities that lead us to the Heavenly Kingdom. A Merry and Blessed Christmas!


Source: Lychnos December 2020 – January 2021