Palermo Christmas mosaic

Mosaic – Palatine Chapel, Palermo, 1150AD

Cyril of Alexandria said, “We are also made partakers of [Jesus’] divine nature, and gain him to dwell within us by having the communion of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus the cute newborn may be a nice, emotional hook – but notice the great liturgical texts for Christmas (for example) make less mention of that, and more of God’s purpose in the incarnation, and our being drawn into the divine life through that.

If we stay at the level of emotional reaction to a cute baby, then we have, once again, confused the means and the goal.

My e-friend, Fr Scott Gunn says it well:

While it is tempting to reduce our encounters with Jesus Christ to their therapeutic or emotional benefits, this is a mistake. Cyril of Alexandria nicely lays out some of the reasons we might find ourselves completely changed. We have to get over the idea that church is about feelings. It’s much bigger than that. If we dwell in the world of feelings, the church is doomed, because, frankly, it probably feels better to go to the beach or the coffee shop on Sunday mornings. And a church which offers something other than the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ is not really a church at all. It is instead a club for current members, or maybe an architectural preservation society.

…To the extent we are focused on anything other than complete transformation, we are focused on the wrong things.

Read his whole post here.

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