December 27, 2015 “ 1 Christmas C
Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Galatians 3:23-25,4:4-7; John 1:1-18
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
I was on a walk yesterday and a neighbor who knows I’m a priest called out to me, Did you survive Christmas? I called back, So far. Isn’t it over?, she asked. No, twelve days of Christmas, remember. We’re just getting started. Oh yeah, she said. Well I hope it goes well.
The Church in so many ways tries to teach us that, when we think things are over, with God they are continuing and really just getting started. When we think things like insights or breakthroughs are brand new, the Church reminds us that the truths we come to see in this life have been around for all of eternity. We see things finishing and starting limited by our own fleshy existence. What we get glimpses of in this life is going on eternally with God. The new is really very old, such that when we consider just how old things are with God, it all feels completely new. There’s really no set beginning for the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord yet there was a beginning and an end to the period of Incarnation here on earth. In the Christmas season we celebrate the fleshy beginning of the expression of God’s eternal love for us. That love didn’t start with Jesus, it isn’t limited to Jesus, but it is our tangible experience of God’s love for us.
Paul tells the Church in Galatia: when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son to redeem the world. Chronologically we think of this event as God having tried numerous things over the course of history to get our attention “ revelations through prophets, miraculous healings, the giving of a covenant and the law, and finally the birth of Jesus “ to show God’s love to the world. And the love which Jesus the Christ comes to embody is so vast that we are led even to reinterpret the very act of creation through the truth which the cross and resurrection reveal. As we ponder the love of Christ we come to know that God’s love has always been and always will be. God’s love is such that he was moved in the beginning of time to create the world in order to have beings to be in relationship with. That eternal love of God becomes tangible in Christ Jesus. The tangible and physical Christ helps us know the truth of God’s love that has always been and always will be. There is no beginning to it. Nor is there any end. And right slap dab in the middle of eternity, Jesus is born to give meaning to it all.
We get a little taste of that sitting here at St. John’s. It was here before us. It will be here after us. And here we are right in the middle of all that. God has all the time in the world. But God has chosen right now as the time to be known to us. In the vastness of time we really don’t matter all that much. But God’s love given to each of us defines us and gives us meaning. Eternity goes on forever but we live in time and the clock is ticking for each of us. Not in a cruel way. But in a critical way. You and I have right now to live and to love, to make the most of our limited time here. What would you love to do that you haven’t gotten to yet? I don’t mean where would like to visit or what little toy would you like to get. What loving act can you sense God calling you to do? We are created for all of eternity but we live here for a season. This physical realm is part of the eternal realm of God. Jesus comes to show us that the goal of life is not to escape this world but to embrace it, to love it lightly, to live it fully. Whatever we imagine the kingdom of God including, that should part of our daily living.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grac