In the December 25 reading from A Year with C. S. Lewis we have most appropriate excerpt from Miracles. It starts, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation.” It’s so easy to lose sight of the Gospel in light of all the hubbub that fills our Christmas season.
If Lewis is right, the Incarnation makes up the center and all the moving parts of God’s plan. It is why the earth received form out of nothing, and why humanity became animated from dust. Perhaps God may have still come despite the necessity for our sin. We know that his want (not need) for relationship would remain. But, with the Fall, the intent of the Incarnation needed to be restoration, and the steps of the judges and the prophets and the kings all pointed in one direct dirge. “It relates not a series of disconnected raids on Nature,” Lewis says, “but the various steps of a strategically coherent invasion–an invasion which intends complete conquest and ‘occupation’.”
When we mask Christmas in the joy of children and family, in twinkle lights and gifts under the tree, in reindeer and snowmen, we only place a disguise on the Truth of the Incarnation. The joy of children isn’t wrong, but we need to become like children to see the foolishness of the Gospel. Family time creates place and identity, but our love needs to be enveloped in Jesus. The festivities and symbols that pull Christmas away from the manger need to be noticed so we might always be aware that Jesus is a suffering Messiah. He poses a threat (and an ask) to come and follow him.
If we waver on the Incarnation we cease to be Christian. “The fitness, and therefore the credibility, of the particular miracles depends on their relation to the Grand Miracle,” Lewis says in reference to Jesus’ coming. And akin to many Christians today, Lewis would have said the Nicene Creed every Sunday as a reminder of the Grand Miracle. Here’s the applicable selection:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
Lewis says this in similar ways in our reading for December 24. “In the Christian story God descends and reascends,” he writes. “He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.”
Glory to God in the highest.