Very Rev. Douglas Travis Meditation
|TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25 , 2012|
I love icons. One wall in my office is entirely covered with icons—all gifts. And yet I’m always reminded that Jesus was Jewish, and that for him the Ten Commandments were central (as they should be for us!). So what do we do with Exodus 20:4—“You shall not make for yourself an idol [an image]...”?
The classical Christian answer is so simple: God has shown us his face. God has become one of us, and he has dwelt with us. “The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory...” (John 1:14) What’s more, in the power of the resurrection and of the Holy Spirit, we can have confidence that this one is still with us. After all, he promised to be! “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
While God remains immortal and invisible, God has also deigned to be present with us—all of us—in the humblest circumstances. The human face has become divine.
Icons simply remind us of that—they remind us of the depth, the height, and the breadth of the gift we’ve received. God dwells with us. Gratitude—overwhelming gratitude—is the only appropriate response. And so the essence of Christmas is not the giving and receiving of gifts, but the joyous thankfulness for THE GIFT already received. God has become one of us and is, even now, with us.
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin. Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.
The Very Rev. Douglas Travis, DMin