As We Celebrate Christmas
From the beginning of time, as we might calculate, there has always been the spiritual battle of good confronting the existence of evil that began with the angels removed from heaven. “ God looked at everything he had made, and he found it was very good.” (Gen. 1: 31).
“Then the Lord said to the serpent; Because you have done this, you shall be banned from all the animals and from all the wild creatures; On your belly shall you crawl, and dirt shall you eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head while you strike at his heel. (Gen. 3: 15).
The serpent was regarded as the devil whose eventual defeat seems implied in the contrast between head and heel. Because the Son of God appeared that he might destroy the works of the devil the passage (1 Jn. 3, 8) can be understood as the first promise of a redeemer for fallen mankind. (footnote for Gen. 3: 15). The first pronouncement of the Incarnation; what Christmas is all about.
“Days are coming says the Lord of hosts; In this place, (regarding the restoration of Jerusalem) when I will fulfill the promise I made to to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her; The Lord our justice. For thus says the Lord; never shall David lack a successor on the throne of the house of Israel, nor shall priests of Levi ever be lacking, to offer holocausts before me, to burn cereal offerings, and to sacrifice victims.” (Jer. 33: 14-18). For this is the ministry of the newborn child Jesus that is remembered each year.
“He will be great and will be called Son of the most high, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.” (Lk. 1: 32.)
“Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins. Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed.” (Is. 53: 4-5). The very reason Jesus entered our history via the Incarnation. The final step before the Passion of the Son of God, the ultimate conclusion of the child we come to see in the Creche.
“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year. For this reason, when he came into the world, he said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, As is written of me in the scroll, Behold I come to do your will, O God.” A passage from Psalm 40 7-9a is placed in the mouth of the Son at his Incarnation. (Heb. 10: 5-7).
“After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said I thirst. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished” And bowing his head, he handed over his spirit.” (Jn. 19: 28, 30). A fulfillment of the passage from Gen 3: 15 “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head , while you strike at his heel.”
Christmas is celebrated remembering how God sent Jesus to redeem us from the wood of the stable to the wood of the cross. Incarnation to Resurrection.
Ralph B. Hathaway Christmas 2021