Advent is a time of preparation. Christians believe God came in human form, born in a manger, helpless and dependent. My Christmas card this year symbolizes this gift. The gift of incarnation has had theologians stumped for about two thousand years. A few mystics and side-lined thinkers have provided some insight into the mystery. They suggest surrender instead of understanding, not something we do easily.
God as vulnerable
So, what would happen if we came to believe in a God dwelling intimately in his/her creation? No separation. Seeing God as vulnerable, someone whom we can hurt by our actions and our words, does not seem to fit the omnipotent, omnipresent notion we have been taught. Yet, this little baby, Jesus, unites spirit and matter and gives us a blueprint to follow.
Union of matter and spirit
Unfortunately, we have rejected this concept from the beginning. Killing Jesus did not eliminate the truth however. Christ still sustains the whole of creation waiting for us to engage in co-creation in a positive way. Union of matter and spirit persists, we are just unaware.
All is one
“It may take us hundreds of years more to move beyond the old cosmology that viewed matter and spirit, light and dark, you and me, as separate entities and life and death as total opposites. Christ is the Living Icon of all Reality and all Reconciliation. His very being says that matter and Spirit are one! Life and death are one! The Christ Mystery is the code-breaker for the human dilemma.” Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations,7 December 2018
Our dilemma resides in our refusal to welcome this vulnerable, loving Creator. In our frenzy to better ourselves in our separation, we have created a dangerous imbalance which cannot be sustained. We approach the point of no return. Some see this happening within our life time, in the next twenty to thirty years if I am still to be.
The choice is ours
“It’s certain that within our lifetimes, per capita consumption rates in the developed world will be lower than they are now. The only question is whether we’ll reach that outcome by methods of our choice or by unpleasant methods not of our choice. It’s also certain that within our lifetimes, per capita consumption rates in developing countries will no longer be one-thirtieth of developed countries’ rates but will be more nearly equal to them.” Jared Diamond National Geographic, December 2018, p.20
A better balance is not only desirable but essential. This Advent may be best used in an endeavour to simplify my lifestyle, to find ways to reduce my ecological footprint. Personally I prefer to reach a balance through means of my choice rather than pestilence, for example.
Should we engage in this notion of an intimately connected God residing in all creation and in every person ever born, we could more easily love the other and care for the beauty around us. Beauty is an essential component in the manifestation of God. This Advent let us all endeavour to create beauty, visually and in relationship, not matter what our beliefs may be.