Christmas: In Pursuit of its Meaning
The birth of Christ is a mystery of our Faith. “And without controversy great is the mystery of piety” (1 Tit 3:16), declares the apostle Paul, and one can feel this mystery, only when it becomes his personal existential experience.
But how can one penetrate the meaning of this mystery? He must knock on the door of Bethlehem, and follow the forgotten and ignored path leading to the Stable where God was made human. This path leads to the centre of Christianity, which is the birth of God, the Incarnation of His Son.
Christianity is like the Stable: by its nature is something secret. You have to search if you want to find it. The root of Christianity is in fact something humble, serene, obscure. You need to make a special effort, if you wish to discover the path to the Stable. And when you get there, you have to stoop down, so you can enter it. That is why genuine Christianity is not attractive, and the message of the Gospels does not impress people. Because its substance has the simplicity of the shepherds, and the tears of a crying infant.
It is the extreme poverty in the Stable, as well as its amazing obscurity – which makes you think they are there, so people cannot be impressed. It may be that by this manner, Christ wanted to show that men had divested themselves of everything divine, given to them on the day of Creation, and so now have become like animals.
At this point we can ask ourselves – what is the substance of the Birth of God on Earth?
- God becomes man, so we can become gods (by grace). The mystery is revealed to those who seek, implore, and cry, searching to find the Truth. Such people enter the Stable, and understand the Mystery of God. The rest stay outside.
- This act is an act of freedom, because no one will applaud your decision, because you follow someone without worldly power, and without social standing. And yet this is a heroic act of real freedom.
In an environment of indifference, spiritual anarchy, impasse, and unbelievable egotism, we once again celebrate Christmas. And we celebrate in spite of all the above. Because the event of the Birth of Christ helps to renew our Hopes, our Faith, our Love towards both God and men. Christmas opens for us the gate to approach and understand the Stable and its Meaning.
One of the hymns of Christmas says: “Christ is on Earth; Rise-up”. The reason that Christ came to earth was that the love of God could no longer tolerate His most perfect creation – man – to be a slave and hostage at the criminal hands of the devil.
Man had to saved. And since man did not have the power to do this on his own, God came down to earth, where man lived. And on arrival, He shouted to all men: “Rise-up”. “Rise-up”, to the heights of virtue, and perfection, to Heaven, with hope and faith, with Me! “Rise-up”, all of you. You young people, with all your physical mental and spiritual powers that reside in you. Rise up from the mundane affairs of this earth, to the humility, purity, and saintliness of the world of the spirit.
Source: Lychnos December 2016 / January 2017