I just saw the word “Saviour” (capital S) in the subject line of an e-mail. Was it from an earnest evangelist proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Christians revere as their saviour?
No. Want another guess? OK, I guess not.
It was the topic line in an email from a retailer, asserting that 10% off a gift card was a “Last Minute Saviour”.
This isn’t about a sacrilege on the part of the retailer, the context and the use of the word are perfectly OK. It is just a confirmation that people don’t think in terms of needing A Saviour. It’s kind of a joke to even admit to that need.
The Incarnation of God in human form is what this Solemnity of Christmas is all about. Jesus came into the world to save sinners from eternal estrangement from God. His mission, his purpose was, no, is, to draw humanity back to God, the divine source of humankind’s creation. And of all that is good.
Who thinks they need saving? This is the question. An alcoholic or addict whose life is trapped in the throes of their sickness may say yes. Those who have tried to succeed in the World on the strengths of their skills and failed may accept their helplessness. No longer trusting in their own strengths, they may seek the help of God. They may see their definition of success change and find satisfaction working a job that offers a new sense of freedom and power.
A human trafficker who sold thousands into slavery had a moment of metanoia, spiritual transformation, and subsequently redirected his life. He acknowledged the evil that he caused and sought to make amends for the wrongs commited. That person was the slave trader John Newton, who wrote a popular hymn in the Eighteenth Century about his conversion. That hymn is Amazing Grace. Most of us, Christian or not, are familiar with its words.
There is more that can be said, that needs to be said. But not right now. This is a day to put aside the books, to dance and be merry.