“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever, Amen.”
BCP, Collect p.213
As we begin the first full week of our Christmas season, I’m captivated by the imagery presented from the collect read yesterday on the First Sunday after Christmas Day. When I consider the idea of being “poured upon,” I think of our liturgy for baptism. When baptizing, the priest literally pours water over the crown of the head. If done correctly, it can be quite messy as the water trickles down and all over the white baptismal gown. The reaction of the child in most cases is of sheer delight as the warm water of grace, mercy and love washes over them. Deep down, I have no doubt a connection with the Father has been made and deep sense of safety and security captures the little one as the child responds with a heavenly smile of acceptance. Those who have witnessed this sacramental act quickly react with a spirit of joy as they receive the child into the Kingdom of God.
As Advent prepared us for the historical moment of God becoming one of us, Christmas is the time of celebrating this sacred arrival. Much like the water being poured over our heads at baptism, Christmas is God pouring over us His love through Jesus. This manifestation is God’s plan of reconciliation for which the world has so desperately longed. And though this act of love can at times be a bit messy, when it is received, it can bring into our life a joy like no other.
Christmas offers us an opportunity to embrace God’s affection. It gives us a chance to be reminded of just how much God loves us. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to embrace such an act depending on our lives’ circumstances. As Christians, we can easily forget who we are and to whom we belong. The darkness can be overwhelming. And yet, when we turn our eyes to the image of love in the form of a baby, our downcast spirits can be revived as He is birthed again in our hearts.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: So that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (John 3:16, The Message)