“He is the image of the invisible God …” That’s what the author (most likely Paul) of Colossians has to say about Jesus of Nazareth.
What is the “image of Christmas” for you? I was listening to the radio about a family in which the mother did all the baking and decorating. She did this out of love for her family and the Christmas Season. The matriarch now suffers with dementia. The members of the family struggle to maintain the celebration of Christmas as they have known it since their childhood. The “image of Christmas” for them is a very large meal, a beautifully decorated tree, and their mother joyfully in the midst of it all.
We all have traditions that make Christmas special. We have mental images associated with that ornament, this recipe, that special scarf we received so long ago. These images linger long after we are able to operationalize them. Loved ones die; children come along with new ideas; the culture itself is in the mode of constant shift – we don’t even shop the way we used to, what with all the on-line stores open 24 – 7 for our convenience!
St. Paul has it right. The passage quoted from Colossians 1:15 lays it on the line for us – an image that endures. Not a portrait, an icon or any particular way of doing things; our image of Christmas is the Christ. He is the truth that stays, the love that is unconditional, the power to save here and now as well as in the bye and bye.
And along with this amazing miracle of “God with us” through Christ, there is this enduring mystery – that you are created in the image of God. May the divine image of the Christ be fully alive in you as we celebrate God-with-us in Bethlehem’s babe.
A blessed Tuesday.