Is Christmas a dangerous blasphemy? Those who shouted for Christ to be crucified thought it was. Was Christ’s incarnation a disastrous idolatry? Many monotheists thought so, but they were confused by what they saw as his confusion. Was his crucifixion proof that he was a Jewish heretic? In which case, what did his resurrection prove? Was his ascension really his disappearance from this world? In which case, what did Pentecost say with many tongues of fire, unveiling the Paraclete? The descent of the Holy Spirit, like a dove, answered all these questions but questioned every answer until it uncovered ineffable mysteries. Between the Ascension of Christ and the descent of the Paraclete at Pentecost, a profound stillness watched and waited, a silence between Ascension and Pentecost that gave its name, HESYCHIA, to desert wisdom. Tongued flames and a mighty rush of wind spoke from the cloud, ‘Turn and be baptised in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, remitting sins, and receive the Holy Spirit.’ In the Spirit, it was discovered there was no hint of blasphemy nor trace of idolatry, but a Gospel of Grace, a Name that saves, pronounced good both by the Spirit and the apostles at the Council of Jerusalem.
So at Christmas, what seemed to many monotheists to be a dangerous blasphemy was discerned, in the Spirit, to be a Gospel of Grace, so that what might be misconstrued as idolatry was seen to be a Gospel of Glory. At Pentecost, it was discerned that the incarnation of God was no idolatrous confusion, even though the union of the uncreated with the created was without trace of division. This revelation opened heavens of glory where there had been hesitation, realms of glory where there had been devastation. The descent of the dove was decisive, cutting through confusion to heal division. Whilst stillness watched and wisdom waited, silence stood steadfast between Ascension and Pentecost, aware that Christmas was no blasphemy, for the incarnation was no idolatry. But it was the Holy Spirit who spoke from the midst of the cloud, confirming the Beloved Son’s theophany, unveiling the Theophany of Holy Trinity. Christmas is vulnerable to misconstrual without Theophany, without revelation, in the Spirit, of Holy Trinity.
What happens to blasphemy when the Spirit discerns Christmas in the light of Theophany? It turns and is baptised into Christ’s death in the Holy Name that resurrects it. The Spirit breathes wisdom into it that discerns the glory of the Name. It extinguishes confusion as it heals division, communicating hallowing Co-inherence of unchanged divinity and undivided humanity. Stillness received the assurance it intuited but could not express when it watched and waited in silent awe-struck wonder between Ascension and Pentecost, becoming an ascended Pentecost that is timeless in the glory of the Name. The Name was revealed on Sinai, Horeb, and Carmel but when transfigured on Mount Tabor, all possible blasphemies are dissolved into theophanies, revealing what ascends and what descends without confusion or division. The Name is wisdom and wisdom is the Name, when glory unveils incarnation as mystery of mysteries, revealing Christmas as a revelatory Apocalypse.
Christmas Day 2021