Returning to the gospel at Christmas

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord,
nor of me his prisoner,
but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,
who saved us and called us to a holy calling,
not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace,
which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
and which now has been manifested
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:8-10

The Christian union with God is Christ in us, uniting us to God the Father and all that is ultimate reality.  This differs radically from all ideologies concerning union and communion with God.  It differs even from many ideologies and theologies that purport to be Christian, but in fact are ‘other gospels.’ There is no way to synthesize or reconcile the reality of Christ in us with the various other modes men devise to get to God. Any such mode bypasses the Incarnation and the Cross.  Rather, Christ descends to us and into us.  He incarnates us.  We are indwelt, in-godded. [1]

Advent is a time to renew our baptism, to return to the gospel.  Where anti-Christ assertions have pierced our armor, our God-in-flesh radiates truth.  Where parasitic add-ons have corrupted our practice and confused our sentiments, He washes us clean once again. Let us cast all else aside and go to the stable in awe.  Let us believe again the wonderful story, so readily embraced in hearts of children, for there really is nothing else to know but Him.  This One, this humble babe, is God with us.

Holy God, thank you for descending into Your creation, into Mary’s womb, into our bodies, souls, and spirits.  We confess there is no other way.  Radiate through us with the glory of Your gospel and burn away anything that would bypass Your manger-bed or Your cross.  Give us pure hearts that we might rejoice at Your appearing, for You are worthy of all our praise.

[1] Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), p. 89

Painting:  Nicolas Mignard, 1656, La nativité. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

More Advent meditations