The treasure of Life?
I think I’ve gotten caught up in the stuff one might consider as “treasure” more than I care to admit. I often find myself searching for the next great Christmas experience–the best place to immerse ourselves in the so-called Christmas spirit. I crave that music, that movie, that red and green decor. I expect it when I go to the mall, a restaurant, and especially, a church.
Has the meaning of Christmas been reduced to a whole bunch of stuff leading up to a quickly told children’s story on Christmas Eve? For me, I am afraid it appears that way some years.
You know that whole milk vs. meat in the Bible? I think our culture expects a reduction of the hard stuff to make it easily accessible to all. But in doing that with our faith stories, we miss the beauty of their depth, and sometimes the whole point of the unbelievable actions of God.
My greatest craving this past year has been authenticity in my belief system. For a while there, the explanations and interpretations just felt…fake. Like lip service. This is why I love reading the Church Fathers (some are the same saints who made the big decision on which letters became the New Testament), because they are beyond our culture and illuminate the wonderous depth of what God reveals. St. John Chrysostom is exceptional at this. This quote is from his Nativity sermon:
“For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life…”
Christ the Word came, not for us to read around a Christmas tree, but for us to Live into eternity. The Word is so much more than letters on a page. The Word is Who Saves us for LIFE. May we remember the magnitude of this upcoming Feast day. Merry Christmas just doesn’t sum it up like I might have demanded in the face of Happy Holidays.
“Merry Christmas” is only a greeting. The Word is so much more.