The Paradox of Christmas
Posted by Logan Gates on December 21, 2017
The Christmas season brings out some of the best in us. We are more generous. We have more time for our families. All that cocoa and carolling have a way of making us, well, more “jolly.”
But it wouldn’t be fair to leave it at that. At least in my experience, time with family has a way of also tearing open old wounds. Too often around the dinner table I’ve caught myself feeling old grudges that have found new life and bubbled to the surface again. Too often as a Christian I’ve left Christmas feeling further from God and ashamed at how little spiritual growth it seems I’ve made.
Somehow at Christmas I find myself both a better person and a worse person than I thought I was before. The words of St. Paul fit like a glove – “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.”
I think if we’re honest, part of the paradox of Christmas is us.
But the Christmas story fits our paradox within one of much larger proportions. In Bethlehem’s stable there was humanity and divinity, humility and majesty, homage from shepherds and anthems of angels. In the manger lay the paradox of St. John: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What has Jesus’ paradox to do with ours?
While Paul writes of our paradox as something we “find to be” within us, John writes of Jesus’ as something he “became.” Paul’s paradox is one we discover – a divided heart of good and evil. Jesus’ paradox was one he chose – a divided nature as God and Man. And the reason he chose it, in his own words, was “to seek and save the lost.”
This Christmas when emotions roil, may we remember the very one we celebrate is he who came for divided people like you and me. He died and rose so we could be forgiven, so we could live for him, and go from divided within to wholly his. At Christmas Jesus became a paradox, to relieve us of ours.
Mild He lays His Glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King