As we approach Christmas, we approach the mystery of God becoming human. The idea that the untouchable, holy God would put on human flesh has been kind of offensive and confusing from the very beginning. If you spend any time reading the purity laws of the Old Testament, you’ll start to scratch your head as you see Jesus the God-man touching lepers and eating with people that weren’t allowed anywhere near the Holy Temple. The first few hundred years of Christianity, people struggled to find language that helped them understood how God was One, and yet Christ is God. These people were trying to be faithful to the language of the Scriptures, they weren’t just pulling ideas out of thin air. As ideas about the meaning of the incarnation rose to the level of controversy, things would get sorted out and the ideas that didn’t stick were deemed “heresy.” To continue to hold to an idea about Jesus deemed “heretical” meant you were parting ways with the more commonly accepted doctrine.
I love the stories of Arius and Athanasius in Egypt in the 4th century. Arius was a deacon with a major following, teaching subordinationism, saying, “there once was a time when the Son was not.” In his effort to elevate the supremacy of the One True God, Arius demoted Jesus to the first creature God created. Jesus is still something special, and he helped create the world, but he is not coeternal with God, because God has no beginning, and Christ does. This was deemed heresy at the first Council of Nicea in 325 AD, but I don’t want to get ahead of the story.
I hope you’ll enjoy this full-color mini comic book I’m creating for you this Advent. I’ll try to put out 3-4 pages each Tuesday through Christmas. The first page features some fantastic landscape artwork by my friend Ryan Lockett. And yes, the feel of this comic is inspired by “A Nauseous Nocturne,” by my childhood idol, Bill Watterson. I’ve been reading Calvin and Hobbes to my 6 year old daughter for the first time and we’re loving it!
If you’ve not been to the Wesley Bros store, I’ve got John the Baptist and Arius Advent cards for sale this week only. Nowhere else are you gonna find snarky advent cards!