27 December 2007

Christmas Color Scheme a la the Church

The Church's "color scheme" for the days of Christ-Mass sure seems to fly in the face of the world's typical "red and green" (not that there's anything wrong with the red and green; it can also have a good, Christ-centered meaning).

What I mean is this: Christ-Mass (12/24 & 25) is white, St. Stephen's day (12/26) is red, St. John's day (12/27, today) is white, and then Holy Innocents (12/28) is red. The glorious light of the Infant King shines in both the glory of His divinity (white) and the blood of martyrdom (red) for His saints. What a great and glorious color scheme it is! Not only does God the Son humble Himself to become Man and thus reveal Himself and God's gracious favor, but His followers, epitomized by St. Stephen and the Holy Innocents, also find their glory in being sacrificed for Him.

But the blood red of martyrdom means very little without our Lord's own blood. So, the Church's "color scheme" for the twelve days of Christ-Mass really tips the hat to what our Incarnate Lord comes to do - sacrifice Himself to save us from sin, death, and the devil. His glory is fully revealed in His own shedding of blood for us!

And, as a fruit of His life of white and red, glory and sacrifice, we, His followers, get to live the same "white and red life." Our glory comes through being sacrificed - that is, in putting to death the sin and death in us by His grace. This shows up especially in the life we live in Baptism. As Luther explained it so well, our Baptism "indicates that the old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever" (Small Catechism, IV:4).

So, the Church's "color scheme" for Christ-Mass shows us our Lord's life and our daily life in Him!

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