Sunday, 25 December 2011

Teilhard and Christmas

If I had to chose one passage from Teilhard which had the most impact on me as a teenager it was his observation on Christmas  contained in The Hymn of the Universe.   I have it before me now marked and underlined with the word ' Christmas' in blue ink.  I remember reading it out at a meeting as a student where people were asked to say what Christmas meant to them.   Many years have past, but to me what Teilhard says still captures  the enormity of what we celebrate on this day: nothing less than the beginning of a new phase in the evolution of mankind.  This is why the stars moved and the Angels sang ' Gloria in Excelsis Deo!'   What happened in the stable was a cosmic and biological event: the Word of God became flesh. The Word of God began to beat and pulse through all creation with a human heart.   It beats still: if only we listen and follow. 

The prodigious expanses of time which preceded the first Christmas were not empty of Christ: they were imbued with the influx of his power. It was the ferment of his conception that stirred up the cosmic masses and directed the initial developments of the biosphere. It was the travail preceding his birth that accelerated the development of instinct and the birth of thought upon the earth. Let us have done with the stupidity which makes a stumbling-block of the endless eras of expectancy imposed on us by the Messiah; the fearful, anonymous labours of primitive man, the beauty fashioned through its age-long history by ancient Egypt, the anxious expectancies of Israel, the patient distilling of the attar of oriental mysticism, the endless refining of wisdom by the Greeks: all these were needed before the Flower could blossom on the rod of Jesse and of all humanity. All these preparatory processes were cosmically and biologically necessary that Christ might set foot upon our human stage. And all this labour was set in motion by the active, creative awakening of his soul inasmuch as that human soul had been chosen to breathe life into the universe. When Christ first appeared before men in the arms of Mary he had already stirred up the world. (Hymn of the Universe, p70) 

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