Christmas: Incarnation of the Divine Light

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

– John 3.16

Lots of us seem to get a little irritated about the “commercialisation of Christmas”, the sense that the festival has lost its real meaning and turned into just another excuse for consumption, for shopping, for mindlessness. Christian folk are inclined, usually, to adopt a “Jesus is the reason for the season” approach – to remind each other and whoever will listen that Christmas (as the name implies) is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ – the great self-giving of God in the Second Person of the Trinity. That act of divine generosity naturally ought to inspire our own generosity, hence food, family, gifts.

Continue reading Christmas: Incarnation of the Divine Light

The Coming of the Divine Light

The Virgin today brings forth the Superessential, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable. . . . . I behold a Mystery strange and wonderous: the cave is Heaven and the Virgin is the throne of the Cherubim; in the confines of the manger is laid the Infinite.

With such grand vision and lofty words we enter the Collect prayer of the Menaion, taken from the proper for the Greek Orthodox liturgy, celebrated on the 25th December.

The Menaion gives a hint of what we might find is available to us, when we engage in the witnessing the presence of the Divine at this time of year, in the Coming of the Divine Light.

The word ‘Superessential’ in the prayer above is grounded upon the use of the original word ‘hyperousion’, St Dionysius’ peculiar term which describes a space above every conception the mind can form. The Christian tradition holds that at the moment of the Lord’s birth, it was as if all Nature had missed a beat and paused in its course, a moment of universal revelation, spread to all creatures and all places.