Tue, 22/12/2015 - 17:57
According to the tradition that has been passed down to us, Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate God coming to earth in lowly human form to save humankind from sin and death. The glory of the deity has been laid aside, the radiant godhead has been veiled in flesh, the creator of all things has been pleased to dwell as man with man for a while, God-with-us, Immanuel, so that there may be peace on earth, so that God and sinners may be reconciled, so that the sons (and daughters) of earth may experience a second birth and die no more, etc.
That coming is dressed in the robes and regalia of Jewish kingship. The incarnate deity is the newborn king, born in Bethlehem of David’s line. But this is little more than circumstantial detail; the essence of the story is theological rather than political, metaphysical rather than historical. Even O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, perhaps the most Jewish of carols, has in view the dispelling of death’s dark shadows and victory o’er the grave as the final outcome.
In this respect, the tradition is at odds with the stories that we have in Matthew and Luke.