Once every seven or so years, December 25th falls on a Sunday — and this is one of those years! This means that this year, on the day of the week that we gather to worship our Lord, we will also be celebrating Christmas, a time we normally set aside for family, gift-giving and joyful reflection.
Because of the prominence of the Roman Empire for centuries in Europe, the Latin language underlies much of our modern speech. Scholars have estimated that nearly 70% of English words have Latin roots, meaning, so far, that 30 of the 50 words you’ve read can be traced back to the language the Romans spoke. And, unlike English which has morphed significantly through the centuries; Latin stayed largely stable for years. The Latin Jesus heard from the Roman soldiers was remarkably similar to the Latin of centuries earlier and later into the medieval times. Which meant that a Latin speaker from Jesus’ time would have understood the phrase, Cur Deus Homo.
As in our time, Anselm was struck by the lack of reflection upon the gift of Christmas. People knew that Jesus was born, they recognized that it was an amazing thing, yet they had little understanding of why it was important. The fact that God was present on earth, that He became human, was easily acknowledged; but the reason why God did so, why God became Man, was not clear. Anselm launched into this gap, seeking to clarify why Christmas happened.
In Cur Deus Homo, “Why God became a Man,” Anselm focuses on two great truths:
Here is the great dilemma—we are the guilty ones, but we cannot do anything about it. God, on the other hand, has the ability to do all things, yet He should not have to fix anything. Those that should, can’t. He who can, shouldn’t. Understanding this dilemma, Anselm concludes:
> Since only man ought to pay for sin, and only God can, payment must be made by a God-man.
Christmas, then, is necessary so that someone might be found who both should pay for sin and who can pay for sin, that is, the God-Man.
All of which drives home the core point—Jesus came from heaven to earth for the purpose of accomplishing that which we desperately need (payment for sin), but that only God can offer. The God-man, Jesus Christ, the one born in Bethlehem, justly celebrated each Christmas, our Savior. He could do that which we could not, and He willingly paid the price for our salvation. To embrace Jesus as your Lord is to recognize our need for a Savior, and His willingness to fulfill that role. What a Christmas Gift!
Join us this Sunday for worship as we explore the reason that Jesus is the reason for the season.
The Coming of the Snowmobile