Daily Meditations

The Thirty-Fourth Day of Christmas Advent: The Advent of God on Earth and in our Lives

By Archimandrite Nikanor Karayannis, 20 December 2021

The feast of Christmas, which is approaching, invites us to experience the mystery of God’s coming to earth. This advent is a fundamental starting-point which deepens the meaning of our life and existence and renews our faith and hope in the living presence of God in and around us. The Church triumphantly proclaims that God has become human so that we can become gods. This truth shines a light on all the dark places in our life. This faith becomes a source of joy that opens the door of our existence to the transcendent world of God. In understated colors, the Gospels describe the strange birth of Christ, the expectation of it and the fulfilment of the prophecies. The Fathers of the Church developed illumined theology on God’s incarnation. The hymnographers praised with gusto the condescension and the descent of God, and also the elevation of humankind. The Creator became a creature; the Invisible became visible; he who is without beginning can be touched, our bodiless God assumed a body; he who is without beginning began his life on earth as an incarnate human being.

And so ‘when the fullness of time came about’, God descended from the heavens on high, that is from the inconceivable mystery of his freedom and love, in order to unite with human nature and ‘without departing from his nature, shared in our constitution’. He entered our reality, our being and our life. God chose the darkest point in history in order to fulfil his promises in a place and manner which astonishes us. The inconceivable and strange way in which God came to earth, and in which he comes into our life each time, inverts human norms and confirms that ‘what is impossible for people is possible for God’. The nativity of Christ ‘shone the light of knowledge on the world’ because it manifested the image of God and of the perfect human being. Such knowledge is the light of the soul. This is why the Incarnation of God, as knowledge of the absolute truth, cannot be compared with any other knowledge or truth in the world, since it confirms for us that heaven came down to earth and that humankind had found what it had so persistently sought.

The nativity of Christ and the regeneration of humanity.

We, the faithful, are called upon to experience this mystery of history as the miracle of our own existence and life. Because, to the extent that the ‘sun of righteousness’ hasn’t risen in our soul, we seek in vain to find the ‘new-born king’ of the vision of the prophets and of the certitude of the Scriptures. The birth of Christ is a constant invitation for us to be reborn spiritually. Spiritual regeneration is an existential fact, a mighty wonder, because we become different people. An eminent theologian of robust thinking links our spiritual regeneration to the image of God ‘as a little child’ when he writes: ‘The words “little child” and “God” are revealing as regards the mystery of Christmas. In one sense, it addresses the child who continues to live on in every adult, to the child who continues to listen when the adult has ceased to do so. Who responds with a joy beyond the ken of grown-ups in the super-mature, jaded and cynical world they inhabit’.

In any case, Christ tells us in the Gospel: ‘Become like little children’ (Matth. 18, 3). By this phrase he doesn’t hint only at the loss of innocence and of openness. Rather he urges us to become aware that every time we become like children, we’re reborn spiritually, since we find again that which we’ve lost: the ability to surrender ourselves to what we love and trust. Only in this way do we experience the transcendence, the miracle, the mystery.

My beloved brothers and sisters, let’s not grieve over the secular celebrations at Christmas. The fractured image of the world around us and the tarnished image of God within us was what the ‘Lord born in a cave laid in a manger’ came to gather together and remake. If this moves us, we’ll be regenerated within ourselves and then we can hope that the world around us will also change. Amen.

Source: agiazoni.gr

~Pemptousia, https://pemptousia.com/2021/12/the-advent-of-god-on-earth-and-in-our-lives/.


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