Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Paradox of Christmas

I was reading Orthodox Father Stephen's blog, Glory to God for all Things, particularly his post on Living the Paradox.

This time of year really brings into high relief, the idea of paradox. Christ is God. God came to earth. Yet, God was born of a woman, in worldly disgrace and poverty. We celebrate His birth with joy. Yet, the Holy Season often highlights to us our own lack of joy. The overabundance, both of joy, and of material things that surround us this time of year, shows to us our own physical and emotional poverty.

The temptation to depression in the midst of all this paradox can be overwhelming. And yet, perhaps that is part of the Divine message. We try so hard to find, and give joy during the season of Christ's Incarnation, because we as human beings can not find that joy alone.

Rather than let the material and temperamental opulence that is so overwhelming this time of year send you to a place of despair, let it bring you to a place of recognition of your own spiritual poverty.

Jesus' message is one of paradox. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." The poor in spirit are those who fully recognize and embrace their own spiritual poverty and, thus, their need for God. When we find ourselves realizing that our lives do not live up to the holiday hype, that is when we need to call out to God. Call out to our God who came to earth as an infant conceived out of wedlock in abject poverty.

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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