Our History’s Grand New Plot

For many, Christmas is now over: the presents are opened, the meal is eaten, the carols are sung, and it is time to start thinking about packing Christmas away until next year. For Christians, however, Christmas day is only the beginning of a twelve-day season set aside to contemplate and celebrate the mystery of God becoming a human being in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The birth of Jesus marks the center of human history; it is the moment that God threw his lot in with us, living, growing, suffering and dying like us. We could also say it is the center of God’s history, marking a new and wild vulnerability in the divine self. But, God himself cannot enter the human drama without dramatically affecting the plot.

white tree

In a famous nativity prayer, St. Augustine of Hippo reflects on the great plot-twist. He commends us all:

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.

The great plot-twist of Jesus’ birth is that the brokenness characterizing human existence begins to unravel. His mere existence in the human story begins restoring all of creation—redeeming our broken human systems, and renewing each one of God’s beloved creatures. The first breath drawn by the infant Jesus, longing for nothing more than his mother’s breast, begins to re-establish justice, health, freedom, right authority, and liberty. This is what Christians celebrate during this twelve day season of mystery and mirth: the recklessness of the ever-redeeming and the ever-conquering God who became a vulnerable baby.

Jessica Hughes

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One response to “Our History’s Grand New Plot

  1. Pingback: The Mosaic of Life | Wondering Fair·

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