December 2005

Fr. Antony PortraitDear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Christ is Born! Christmas is all about renewal and restoration. Something essential that was lost is recovered in the birth of the Son of God which we call the Incarnation, the "enfleshment" of God. What was lost and is found is the possibility of the unthinkable: intimacy on the most visceral level with the unapproachable God.

This is the reason why the Word of God was made fleash, and the Son of God became Son of Man: so that we might enter into Communion with the Word of God, and by receiving adoption might become Sons of God. (Irenaeus of Lyons)

St. John puts it this way: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The word "dwelt" in Greek really means tabernacled, or he literally pitched a tent among us, a rather interesting and cozy way to put it, I think.

The point, of course, is that God wants to be intimate with us. He loves us. All that language about God's wrath and anger that the ancients reveled in (as do those delightful televangelists) collapse like a house of cards in Christ and love is revealed to be the essence of God's dealing with humanity. The "wrath" language tells us more about the preacher than it does about God.

To paraphrase the Odes of Solomon it was love that moved God to empty himself and become lowly, to become like us so that we could receive him and be clothed in him, to wipe away our fear of him, to make himself understandable, visible, touchable and, in very human terms, loveable.

He took my face so that I should not turn away from him. (The Odes of Solomon)

In the midst of all this in-your-face revealing of God there is also a hidden mystery. By taking on human flesh, matter, the very stuff of creation, God plants a divine seed that even now is growing in all of us and all things. The Incarnation begins a secret recreation. The Incarnation is the leaven in the loaf that will eventually cause creation to rise and be glorified, when Christ shall become all in all. Becoming aware of this truth and voluntarily embracing it through participation in the life of Christ in all its forms is the source of peace, healing, restoration, reconciliation, and deification.

This is our true vocation all made possible by the Incarnation of the Son of God.

May the Light of the Incarnation enlighten us all, now and forever.

Fr. Antony Hughes