The Tenth Day of Christmas

The third day of the New Year also marks the third last day of Christmastide. It may well be that after the rush at the end of the year with the sudden change in gear at Christmas that you are feeling tired and exhausted. And after ten days of Christmas feasting, there may well be a fatigue setting in that not even Advent has prepared you for. If that is you, we hope you find today’s resources helpful for taking time to pause and reflect anew on the Christ whose birth we celebrate. From a sermon that was produced under similar circumstances, to an ancient Greek hymn reflecting on the wonder of the nativity, from a recent album release to a Bible reading practice designed to slow you down to think and mediate, take the time this Saturday to ruminate again that God became man.

Also, a New Year also brings with it its own series of habits and practices, least of all the concept of New Year’s Resolutions. This practice has a long history, and was used by Christians in England and North America in the 16th and 17th centuries to stimulate reflection on the year that was and provide direction for growth in the year ahead, particularly as a way of moving from the feasting of Christmas to the return of ‘ordinary time’ that followed Epiphany. If you’re looking for inspiration for your resolutions this year, you may find inspiration with Natasha Moore from New England theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards over at the Centre for Public Christianity.

    

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Today’s post features a distinct patristic flavour. The second century bishop Irenaeus is widely regarded as the first Christian theologian following the apostolic era. Drawing on Paul’s image in Ephesians of all things being summed up in Christ, described in today’s reading as the first born of creation and new creation, Irenaeus argued for a unified vision of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, who in the Incarnation sums up in himself the entire history of salvation, humanity and all creation: “He, as the eternal King, recapitulates all things in himself”. Where Adam failed, Jesus obeyed with trust and humility. This theme is continued in the Byzantine Hymn of the Only-Begotten Son, credited to the fourth century Alexandrian bishop Athanasius: the Word of God became flesh to renew the bearers of God’s image. Of course, this isn’t a peculiarity of the early church; it is the theological foundation of Christmas, the basis of our salvation.

As we reach the mid-way point of the Christmas season, we offer you these ancient and modern reflections on the incarnation of God the Son so that we might become sons of God.

     Poetry Jessica Noelle