“The mystery of this boon is great, dearly beloved, and this gift exceeds all gifts that God should call man son, and man should call God Father…”
-St. Leo the Great, Sermon 26
Episode six of Re-Kan!, which deals with the love of parents for their children on Christmas, seems like an apt choice for this post. Generally, the themes of friendship and familial love hold first place among the topics discussed within this show, and this episode is no exception. A spirit temporarily possessing Amami’s body, a kogal girl, desires to reconcile with her mother; though, she is also hesitant because she feels like she let her parents down. Also, Uehara, one of Amami’s close friends, hopes against hope that her parents will be reunited with her for Christmas.
The longing for reconciliation of the one and longing for union of the other on Christmas remind one of God the Father’s purpose is sending his only begotten Son for our salvation. Think of the great darkness which surrounded humanity around the time of Christ’s birth: the bulk of humanity was under Satan’s rule, people everywhere save Israel forgot the worship of the true God, and a soul-sucking nihilism pervaded the entire culture as pagans rejected religion altogether. How few strove to find God and how many perished in hell everlastingly! How man’s collective spirit, “subjected to futility” (Rom. 8:20), must have groaned! The following passage from G. K. Chesterton’s masterpiece, The Everlasting Man, comes to mind:
It was something in the sense of impotence and despair with which men shook their fists vainly at the stars, as they saw all the best work of humanity sinking slowly and helplessly into a swamp. They could easily believe that even creation itself was not a creation but a perpetual fall, when they saw that the weightiest and worthiest of all human creations was falling by its own weight. They could fancy that all the stars were falling stars; and that the very pillars of their own solemn porticos were bowed under a sort of gradual deluge. To men in that mood there was a reason for atheism that is in some sense reasonable. Mythology might fade and philosophy might stiffen; but if behind these things there was a reality, surely that reality might have sustained things as they sank. There was no God; if there had been a God, surely this was the very moment when He would have moved and saved the world. (Part II, Chapter 1)
That reality which man has ever sought, God, has also ever been seeking man. When the kogal ghost eventually meets her mother, she complains about her mother always setting a third place at the table for her lost daughter, saying that her mother ought to have had another child and forgotten about her. After saying this, she runs away, hoping to escape her mother through crossing a street as the light changes; however, her mother catches up to her and holds her closely. At this point, the kogal tearfully confesses her faults and apologizes as her mother forgives her for everything.
One cannot but be reminded if the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Most Church Fathers say that the ninety-nine sheep who were not lost represented the angels, while the lost sheep represented man. The Good Shepherd did not content Himself with the myriads of the heavenly hosts and by means of their company console Himself for the loss of the comparatively small number of men lost through Adam’s Fall. Infinite is the difference between God and man, but God crossed from His eternity and immortality into our mortality: “…Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;” (Philippians 2:5-7). Whenever we look at the Christ child in the nativity scene, we are reminded of the awesome humility and charity of God in effecting our salvation.
But, our reconciliation with God on this earth is mingled with much imperfection. “We see through a glass darkly” (1 Cor. 13:12) and are often pressed by material and worldly concerns, which causes St. Leo the Great to remind us: “Christian, acknowledge your dignity, and becoming a partner in the Divine nature, refuse to turn to the old baseness by degenerate conduct…Recollect that you were rescued from the power of darkness and brought out into God’s light and kingdom,” (Sermon 21). But, seeing how Christ has conquered the power of darkness in His humility and obedience to God and through his unfathomable love of man, we hope the Christ child will at last lead us through every danger until at last we are united to our Father in heaven and see Him face to face–very much how Uehara’s hope of seeing her parents bore fruit at last with great joy on Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all! And a Happy New Year!