Jesus lights up the Trinity
The Christmas Eve readings focus upon Jesus. Look closely, however, at the connective relationships, the oneness in God’s descriptions.
We get three “Trinity” references from the four sets of readings for Christmas day, this week. They are striking in their consistency:
He shall say of me, “You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.”
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior
While we often concentrate our homage and religious activities on Christmas primarily upon Jesus, the Christ, the Church does not leave to our imagination anything less than the full complexity of three persons in one God. Taken together, which is how we should review scripture anyway, the fullness of God’s triune persons flies off the pages of both the New and Old Testaments.
Image by David Mark
These Christmas Eve readings focus upon Jesus. Look closely, however, at the connective relationships, the oneness in God’s descriptions. In Psalms, well before angels announced his name as Jesus, God was known and recognized by his Spirit, Fatherhood, and incarnation as the Savior. The unspoken doctrine of the Trinity still lives in the Old Testament. You can find Father, Son, and Spirit everywhere.
Isaiah calls out the titles of God as the counselor (Spirit), Father, and Prince of Peace. The glue in the four titles could easily be God as Hero. The Psalms identify the woven aspects of God within the Chosen People — father, my God, my savior — using the imagery of the 40 years in the desert, “the rock.” Jesus called himself the rock upon which he would build his Church. His Church, in specific detail, is defined by Jesus to be filled with followers who take their marching orders from the Holy Spirit. He tells us all that we are sons and daughters of the Father, just like him.
In Titus, the summary of the Trinity takes full shape. The Trinity is no longer concealed. The Father saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, which he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
The threads of Father, Son, and Spirit weave into one God. They purposely join hand-in-hand, a purpose insisted upon by scripture’s authors. The Trinity is not a limited, categorically boxed-in doctrine. We do know, though, that the incarnation of Jesus as wholly God and fully man strengthens the credibility of the Old Testament’s remarkable revelations.
What comparison to God placing himself into our world, keeping his unique person as Father, and again as Spirit, can any humanly contrived god story measure up? Like most early history people, the Greeks rightly conceived of many Gods, attempting to accomplish what in their thinking must be true regarding the complexity of divinity. They get, however, soap opera portrayals of gods in competition. However, the love and complete unity of the Trinity beggars the human constructs.
Rather than be confused into disbelief over the trinitarian persons of God, which confusion can easily be justified, God instead asks us to believe that he is who he is. He did create the universe and all that is in it. God did allow us to be free, even to reject him. He did join creation in birth, life, and death. God conquered death’s inevitability and gave us the consequences of his resurrection and ascension. He did establish the physical presence of himself in the Eucharist. God next provides us with intimate access to the Holy Spirit living in our hearts by gathering his believers together no matter where they may live.
More is promised. There is much more to be revealed. We will be drawn closer and closer to him in all three persons. Our relationships to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will grow closer to the divine. So close that we will become more and more like God throughout eternity.
The Old Testament writers knew bits and pieces. We have a tapestry more clear to us every day, revealing the interplay of the Trinity and our part with him.
There’s so much more to come …