Wholistic Salvation and Harry Belafonte
A local radio station makes it a habit of playing nothing but Christmas songs throughout the month of December - presumably AND most unfortunately until December 26th I'd wager. But I suppose I have already done enough complaining about our culture's means of celebrating the "holidays", and as a wise friend recently wrote me (excuse the paraphrase): I'd like to think I am more than the sum total of my gripes. (Thank you for that, by the way, if you are reading this...I still find that very applicable to my life!)
Anyway...the popular song by Harry Belafonte Mary's Boy Child is frequently recycled throughout the day (at least enough for me to catch it now and again - despite the infrequency with which I listen) and there is one line in the chorus which reminded me alot of Orthodox hymnology:
And man shall live for evermore, because of Christmas day
Simple enough, I know, but at the same time it really speaks to the wholistic nature of our salvation. In the past, if you were to ask me what comes to mind when I thought about how God saved us I would not have hesitated to say: The Cross. I'm not sure that I would have thought of the Incarnation at all...or at most seen it as a simple means to an end. I mean, He had to become man to die for us, right?
Perhaps I was ignorant or just taught wrong, but I feel as though I am just now beginning (beginning mind you!) to really have an understanding of the vastness of our salvation, and while it has certain crescendos (such as Christmas) which are celebrated throughout the Liturgical year, the entire history of the world has been and is the playing field in which our salvation is continually being accomplished. The final crescendo, I suppose, will be the Second Coming. In a way, I think perhaps this is part of the reason we Orthodox hesitate to answer the question: Are we saved? It ain't over yet.
Harry Belafonte's song is true...Christ assuming our human nature is one of the great crescendos in our salvation story. Yes, Harry, we shall live forevermore because of Christmas day, and because of the Annunciation, and because of the Conception of the Theotokos, and because of the prayers of Joachim and Anna, and on and on it goes - a never ending spiral of interactions between God and humankind which has made possible our restoration and healing.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 9:20 AM [+]