PERICHORESIS AND CHRISTMAS
In order to appreciate the mystery of Christmas, one must have some appreciation for the doctrine of the Trinity. We cannot understand it, or at least fully understand it. But it is revealed to us in Scripture, three persons, one Godhead. One ancient doctrine that helps us to understand is the concept of Perichoresis. It means mutual interpenetration. Yes this is a hard concept. It is about the Trinity after all. One theologian put it this way. ‘The Father, the Son, and the Spirit “condition and permeate one another mutually with such perfection, that one is as invariably in the other two as the other two are in the one.”’ There is a perfect unity of Godness in the Three.
Why is this so important for us at Christmas? The perfect and holy God of creation became man, assumed human flesh and died for our sins. Some folk think it is cruel that the Father Sent the Son. But if we understand the Trinity, then we know that it was a perfection of mutuality that made that decision. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit sent the Son.
God, in his perfect holiness, passed judgment on the sin of humanity. But God, in his perfect love, became our substitute so that, what should have been paid by us for our sin, was in fact paid God himself.
There is a Child, born with a purpose. He is God become flesh, what a great mystery that is! But he was born so that he might die for all who would believe in him as their Savior and Lord. This is the real Christmas. Because it is so grand, so majestic, so wonderful that God remembered us in our sinfulness, we celebrate with great joy. “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luk 2:14 NAS)