Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Child's Christmas

At a Christmas service, a young child stood clueless in the crowded pew, wondering what was going on. She couldn’t see past the coats on all sides. The elder sister explained it all for her:
"Christmas was the day God died in a stable manger."
What a shining example of reasoning things out for oneself, from parental warnings about the dangers of really filthy places.
But in a way, the girl is right: the old idea of a lone, distant God died in the incarnation, and in becoming flesh, God also accepted his eventual death. Incarnation and Passion are inextricable, as Bill Tully says. And each event requires us to give up something. The nativity requires us to give up our aloofness, the old faith that God doesn't need us—from the moment he was born, he was in grave danger.
At Easter, the girl must have taught her sister about how God was born out of an egg. Because at Easter the resurrection shatters the hardened, hollow world. If the graves were broken open and the saints walked, we have to give up our belief that anything spiritual is ever laid to rest.