“THE INCARNATED GOD WITH YOU”
Saint Luke 2. 1-14
Vigil of The Christ-Mass [Christmas Eve]: 24 December Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
If one thinks they are forgiven only because they think they are…maybe they’re not. Have your feelings ever been wrong? All the time. If one thinks they are okay and are going to get to go to some really great afterlife because they’ve “heard” some inner voice in their head telling them so—they are probably mentally ill. And if a person thinks Valhalla, the Elysian Fields, Buddhist Nirvana, or Abraham’s Bosom will be attained by their own innate goodness or dedicated hard work of spiritual exercise and philanthropic works of mercy, they will be very surprised when they find they’re spending eternity in hell.
Forgiveness needs a real Forgiver! Salvation needs a Savior not an idea, theme, cosmic principle, or gauzy memory of…even an event two-thousand years ago.
Tonight is no birthday party. There is no baby. There is only Emmanuel: God with us! You either believe that or not. Jesus is not God remembered but God with us. And not just that, for God the Blessed Trinity is omnipresent and always with you; with everything, but the God/Man with us.
There are some who are dismissively called C/E church-goers, those who only darken parish pews on Christmas and Easter. That doesn’t matter because The Holy Ghost calls by Christ’s Gospel when and where He does. Those who come twice a year to be in Jesus’ presence are at least in His presence then, and we pray that it will be every Sunday to be sure.
I also don’t really care “why” you are here tonight. Rather I am grateful to God that you are: period.
There were taxes from Caesar and there always will be. There is census taking then and now. There is always sin and the desire to control other people: steal their goods, livelihood, sons, and freedom—from Cain to Pharaoh; from Caesar to all golden-calf governments. The hurt done to your fellow man and yourselves, the hurt you inflict, is part and parcel of the hurt you inflict upon God by being sinner.
Speculating on “how” God could have fixed things is sinful. We know how The Lord restored the breach and brought damned corpses back to life. We know all that God desires through His Holy Word! There is no Pentecost, no Ascension, no Easter, and no Atonement on Calvary worth a damn without the Incarnation of God…and it’s revelation in Jesus’ Holy Nativity! There is no God for you save Jesus in His Body and Blood. That Body and Blood, that Emmanuel, came for you when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. That enfleshed Lamb was carried in the womb of a Virgin. That blood-pumping Scapegoat was suckled at the breasts from which He created and which He took His own human flesh and blood from. That pierced-One Who was laid in the manger will deign to lay in the Chalice and Ciborium on the morrow…to lay on your tongue. Emmanuel.
The first sinful and fallen Adam was told—even before the “Fall”—to take his bride and become one flesh. That’s what it is about…one flesh…Communion…unity with God…marriage, one metaphor; sonship, another; branches to the vine, yes; and the Body to Christ the Head one more of many! Incarnation means Holy Family, now by imputation, and very soon by the transformation of resurrection glory.
God became man, the perfect man, to do what you can’t, what Adam didn’t. God is the perfect Man Who paid your debts in His Blood, in His Body carved and riven in your place. But the Incarnated One also obeyed in that real Flesh of a real Man.
All happened, and happens, by Emmanuel in Incarnation. Jesus is risen and glorified and always unites perfectly in One Christ both Divinity and Humanity. He sits at the right hand of power, of The Father, with the assumed flesh of the Virgin—your assumed humanity. He cleanses all flesh—homosexual flesh, adulterous flesh, venal, craven, lying, cheating, gossiping, angry, prideful, domineering, petty, ungrateful, and your flesh in His Flesh!
You will never become gods, like one twisted perversion (now growing and popular in America) teaches. But you will rise imperishable and glorified with an everlasting Body again restored in His image and likeness.
The Holy Nativity is forever. The crèche—the stable—is forever. But The Lord is not in a cave and not in Palestine. He is here in His good news of remission and absolution, yes; but not because of a “force,” precept, obedience of your consent, or an emotional high or commitment. The Lord is present at the Incarnated God/Man.
The Christ-Mass—not a “sign” of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, but the reality of a Christ wrapped in a real Body forever…forever with you…forever in your ears and in your bodies.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost