Monday, December 24, 2007

Empty on Christmas

My car almost went empty of gas after the gas stations ran out of unleaded ethanol blend. I had to buy the more expensive high octane fuel.

What has this got to do with Christmas? Like a carrier shell that has collected the sea's junk our Christmas celebrations have accumulated parties, feasts, presents (which we expect), presents (which people expect us to give) and Christmas bonuses (money!)

There was one baby born on this day with never had anything at all although he had all right to everything. One thing I have learned in the spiritual sense when studying environment and biodiversity is that nothing belongs to us. If there is a moral lesson to the global warming problem this is that the planet really isn't ours.

To whom does the planet and the cosmos belongs? It belongs to the one who made them. Christians believe that God made everything and God became one of us (in doing so became part of the biosphere). He had to go through the stages of life starting with a zygote and eventually becoming baby and later on be an adult and then to die.

The arrival of this baby is what Christmas is all about. Since the baby has right to everything in the universe but never even made a claim for it, what then really is this?

The Eastern Church fathers called this by its Greek word "kenosis". The English translation is "emptying" although this doesn't quite fully capture the original nuance. The Latins (scientists are heirs to Latin philosophy) may just picture this as emptying a pitcher of water. But there is more to that.

The baby had nothing and had to empty out something. The only possession the baby had was his life and this he will give as a man.

Sometimes we may find it hard to empty out (pockets, stuff, money, things of sentimental value), but the baby can show us what can be gained. The logic of Christmas is really in Good Friday and beyond that, Easter.

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