Joy in Our Winter
Christmas. Fr Benedict Jonak tells us how the birth of Christ destroys the vicious circle of godless life.
The very passing of time and seasons can be for some a way to God: leading them from the wonders of creation to the Creator himself.
This is because the world is perhaps seen at its best in the beauty of the changing
seasons and landscapes,
from spring to winter, from morning to evening, from hot sands of the desert to the
inaccessible white mountain peaks.
For others however, perhaps even for most of us, the cycle of seasons and the ever changing vistas eventually become the source of despair. ‘Every spring will eventually lead to winter’ they would say, ‘every morning leads to the terror of the night’ and ‘every desert stands in the place where there once was lush vegetation and life’.
It is in those hopeless moments that we do not marvel at the miracle of birth of a new person or creature, because why rejoice in birth when it only leads to death? Why rejoice in the world which shows us that generation after generation suffers diseases, wars and famine and eventually passes away? Why marvel at that viscous circle of life and death?
It is especially for those who suffer such dark thoughts that the Nativity of Christ should be a source of true peace as it opens up a new perspective, a new vision, that goes beyond time and space.
On this day Christ is born to us – we pray in liturgy today – On this day has appeared to us a Saviour. On this day angels sing for us, archangels rejoice for us. On this day the righteous exult, saying, Glory to God in the highest.
Christmas is special because it enables us again and again to be happy that Christ was born in time, on that day. And his birth, as the Latin fathers say, has destroyed the vicious circle of godless life.
Godless life is not simply life without a god or without morals and principles.
Godless life is a life without the God who has revealed himself to Abraham and his offspring, and who eventually came to us in the form of a servant: a defenseless baby. Moreover, he came to restore us to himself, because the salvation that he offers is this: to share in the Divine life – with all its richness and depths unfathomed by human mind and heart – in a glorified body. And this is all possible because on that day Christ assumed the human body.
On Christmas day God-is-with-us. On this day he is born in time and for eternity changes time. On this day he paints for us a vista, a new way and purpose: ‘long for me’ he says, ‘so that I may be born in your heart’.
And if he is born in you then you have no need to fear the night and death or suffering for he is with you – and he has conquered them for you. On this day.