We like to believe that salvation and forgiveness happens in Jerusalem, at the cross (and then in the empty tomb).
However, the ancients—the fathers and mothers of my faith tradition—knew a secret that I tend to forget (and that the modern church neglects to remind me):
My salvation begins with the arrival of God in human form. When the Creator chooses to enter fully into the broken, limited, imperfect form of His creation, something powerful has happened:
Namely, that nothing in my life—no brokenness, or imperfection, or bad choice—can keep God from me.
(And this happens BEFORE I speak any words of regret, or contrition!)
When God chooses to take on human form, He declares: I can deal with human life; I do not need to condemn it, or reject it. I accept it, so that it can be changed into something more powerful and beautiful than anyone can imagine.
I wish I could say it better than John Chrysostom, but I cannot. These words haunt me, encourage me, challenge me, and remind me that I am ALREADY saved
You could do a lot worse today (or over the next few days) than to just sit with these words and their meaning:
Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken. For this day paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spread on every side—a heavenly way of life has been implanted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and we now hold speech with angels.St. John Chrysostom (349-407), “The Joys of Christmas” (emphasis added)
Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He has come on earth, while being fully in heaven; and while complete in heaven, he is without diminution on earth. Though he was God, he became man, not denying himself to be God. Though being the unchanging Word, he became flesh that he might dwell amongst us.
To Him, then who out of confusion has wrought a clear path; to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, we offer all praise, now and forever. Amen.
Merry Christmas everyone.