CHRIST is born!
If I had my way I would probably choose to begin the Church year on Christmas Day. It would be a purely selfish choice for many reasons. Mostly I think it would be because of my awareness of my need for salvation and Christmas is when the business of redemption really began in earnest. Yes I know that the redemption of mankind has been God’s main agenda since creation. What He did prior to the Virgin Birth was in order to prepare mankind for the payment of that price of redemption. Not by “mankind” per se, rather by one Man for “mankind,” that is, The Son of Man. Everything that has been done by God since the Ascension has been to prepare mankind for His return in glory. The period of time when God the Son joined His creation in the flesh is central to human history. The actual act of redemption, that is the Passion and the events following, are certainly critical to the fulfillment of God’s agenda. They are however, the culmination of that portion of His plan. It is the beginning of that portion of His plan that is so appealing to me as a potential symbolic beginning of the Liturgical Year. Christmas truly is the most important beginning, in my reckoning at least, in the history of man. It is when the prophecy of Emmanuel was fulfilled. That is no small event. It is God joining Himself to become one of His own creation, the Uncreated becomes the creature in the mystery we call Hypostasis. That event is summed up in the third verse of the Christmas carol “Silent Night.” The phrase that comes to mind says, “With the dawn of redeeming Grace.” Which falls in quite nicely with my premise. We as humans are drawn to symbolism and that is a very powerful symbol. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not looking for a technical discussion regarding the symbolism of Advent. I understand the preparation we all must make in anticipation of the Lord’s coming and it’s symbolic link to the preparation and prefiguring present in the Old Testament. What I am saying is that the birth of our Savior is pretty heady stuff when you really contemplate it for a while and that makes it a very appropriate candidate, in my opinion, for the beginning of the Liturgical Year. You may say it is wishful thinking on my part and frankly, I would be the first to agree. I‘m not really wishing too hard here folks, this is more of a “what if” musing. My point, to be more precise, is that what we celebrate on Christmas day is the beginning of the “Redemption Event,” to borrow a phrase, that will last for the next thirty-three years or so, meet it’s apex at the Crucifixion and Resurrection and then culminate, sort of, at the Ascension. The key to this scenario is…the birth of Christ. He is after all, the Alpha.