Daily Meditations

Sixth Day of Christmas Advent, Christmas is Already Easter

November 20th, 2015

In Jesus, God achieved the perfect synthesis of the divine and the human. The incarnation of Jesus demonstrates that God meets us where we are as humans. God freely and fully overcomes the gap from God’s side. The problem of redemption is already resolved once and for all, long before its dramatic illustration on the cross. Bethlehem already revealed that it was good to be a human being.

For the Christian, spiritual power is always hidden inside of powerlessness, just as God was hidden and yet revealed in a defenseless baby. If God is ever to be loved and shared, God had to risk both human embodiment and human vulnerability. This is the only thing that enchants and evokes the human heart. We do not properly fall in love with concepts or theological ideas (although some do try); persons fall in love with other persons.

In a weak little child, God is both perfectly hidden and perfectly revealed—and fully lovable.

~Richard Rohr, Christmas is Already Easter: Meditation 49 of 51, Adapted from unpublished notes

 

“The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” ~John 5:36

The Scriptures very clearly teach what we call today a “bias toward action.” It is not just belief systems or dogmas and doctrines, as we have often made it. The Word of God is telling us very clearly that if you do not do it, you, in fact, do not believe it and have not heard it (James 1:19-27 and much of the rest of this primitive letter, which likely precedes the later theological emphasis in Paul’s letters).

The only way that we become convinced of our own sense of power, dignity, and the power of God is by actually doing it—by crossing a line, a line that has a certain degree of nonsensicalness and unprovability to it—and that’s why we call it faith. In the crossing of that line, and acting in a new way, then and only then can we really believe what we say we believe in the first place. Lifestyle issues, like non-consumer living, non-violent actions, community building, service, and volunteerism, ask much more of us than mere belief systems ever do.

~Adapted from Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr

 

Our Christian wisdom is to name the darkness as darkness, and the Light as light, and to learn how to live and work in the Light so that that “the darkness does not overcome it” (John 1:5). But we can never deny that darkness exists, even in ourselves.

If we have a pie-in-the-sky, everything-is-beautiful attitude, we are in fact going to be trapped by the darkness because we are not seeing clearly enough to allow both the wheat and the chaff of everything. Conversely, if we can only see the darkness and forget the more foundational Light, we will be destroyed by our own negativity and fanaticism, or we will naïvely think we are apart from and somehow above the darkness.

Instead, we must wait and work with hope inside of the darkness—while never doubting the Light that Jesus says he is (John 8:12)—and that we are too! Many people do not notice that he also says we are the light of the world too (Matthew 5:14). That is the narrow birth canal of God into the world—through the darkness and into an ever-greater Light, but a light that we carry with us and in us.

~Adapted from Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr