Today’s #AdventWord was meant to be a collaboration, but it didn’t quite come together that way. And yet, even though someone else picked this word out for me, MESSENGER just happens to be one of my more favored from this year’s list.
Charlie Brown wasn’t the first to wonder about the meaning of Christmas. From day dot, the Christ event has been the riddle that somehow turned the key on a cosmic mystery; everyone could sense it, but few had the words to describe what it meant, and we still fumble with the language til now.
For me, the meaning of Christmas is one of those classically (& Catholically) McLuhan moments, where the medium is fundamentally the message. The coming of Emmanuel is wordplay signifying a most historically material dialectic: heaven on earth, the infinite as finite, transcendence in immanence, the word made flesh—God with us.
Christmas is God’s self-communication and what God says first and foremost is that God commune-icates: this is no “double-click” bypassing as Latour (another Catholic) would call it; even for God, there is no information without mediation and, yes, transformation.
That’s why we have Gabriel’s hail and Mary’s let it be. That’s why we have Mary’s womb and Mary’s child. Ours is not the comic-book demigod who snaps his fingers to make or break worlds; ours is a God born of a woman—water broken, umbilical cord cut, crying out in the darkness, swaddled, & nursed. A God who communicates through and with the stuff of this world.
That’s my most favored message of Christmas: that there will always be messengers—that we are not to opt out of flesh/blood, synapse/sinew, signal/noise when turning to face our God.