By Natalie M. Rosinsky
Discusses the Christmas vacation, together with the beginning of Jesus Christ and the culture of Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas.
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To the extent that we think we know the law to love, we find that we are ignorant. Simply put, we are both wicked and utterly confused, selfish and myopic. Kierkegaard at times presents love as unmitigatedly intricate, demanding of each individual Christian the disturbing acknowledgment that we do not in the least know how to love faithfully. He will then, as powerfully, present the command to love as inescapably blunt, demanding from us the confession that we know the law, but refuse to meet it.
Kierkegaard here in this section effectively reminds his readers that our relation to Christ is one necessitated by our own, incalculable, debt. Humility and love are one relation, rather than subsequent steps. In The Freedom of a Christian, Luther links our release from damnable culpability to our graced capacity to love, exhorting that our liberation through Christ from the damning effect of the law issues forth in a life Kierkegaard and the Treachery of Love lived for others and not for ourselves.
The import of the law permeates each interaction, making “every human relationship between person and person a relationship of conscience” (WL, ). ” transforms “an affair of the heart [into] a matter of conscience” (WL, ). Conscience, we learn, is the marker for each individual’s prior and perduring “God-relationship,” and by means of it, Christianity “objects to the self-willfulness of drives and inclination” (WL, ). We have, as the “eternal foundation” to every particular love, the crucial acknowledgment that the beloved is not our own, but God’s.