Heading home from the manger

File:Adorazione dei Magi by Gentile da Fabriano - Predella.jpg

Looking back to Sunday

So we gather in the season of Christmas. We hear the promise of peace in the child of Bethlehem. We sing “Silent Night” and “Away in the Manger” and light candles in the dark. We hear the story of the peasant mother on a cold winter’s night. If we are fortunate, we go home to family gatherings that are warm and joyful and a taste of all that is good in life. Then somewhere in the days that follow, perhaps after some family tension or evening news account, we lament that the peace doesn’t last.

It is then, in these days after, that it is important for us to hear the words of our second reading yesterday morning:

12As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

There is baptismal imagery working in this word of encouragement. You can almost hear the elder admonishing the newly baptized – who have put off their old clothes and renounced their previous gods before going down into the water, rising up out of the opposite end of the pool to put on a new, clean garment – you can almost hear the elder admonishing them to put one Christ, to clothe themselves with all the qualities of Christ, to adorn themselves with the way of life that accords with God’s redeemed creation.

12As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Then comes the exhortation to let Christ govern in our hearts – in the place where thought and desire turns into choice and action “let the peace of Christ rule.” This leads to the appeal to let the Christ’s teaching dwell within and among us and concludes with the practice of gratitude.

This is the shape of the believer’s life: to be clothed in Christ, to live forgiveness, to be governed by our harmony with God and infused with God’s teaching, to be thankful.

This is the life with which we seek to cloak ourselves as we journey home from our visit to the manger.

 

Image: By Gentile da Fabriano (Petar Milošević) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.  See https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAdorazione_dei_Magi_by_Gentile_da_Fabriano_-_Predella.jpg
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s