Christmas time is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the whole season and all the holiday cheer. From the lights, parties, food, and presents; who doesn’t love Christmas time? Each year my family brings out the same traditions, the same tree, and the same ornaments. If you are like me, your church starts to sing the same songs, do the same activities, and preach from the same passages. As much as I enjoy the Christmas season, it has become normalized the older I get. The excitement and joy become routined and I find myself thinking, “yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this song way too many times…” or I think, “Gosh, didn’t the pastor preach on this passage last year?”
The birth of Christ, the immaculate conception, the Angels, the wise men, they seem to become normal. Part of it, I think, is the older I get the more routined I’ve become to the season. The other part is getting caught up in how our society deals with holidays. This last October I walked into a hardware store only to see Christmas trees on display next to Jack-o-Lanterns! If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that Tim Burton made the arrangements. We are becoming so fast-paced in our culture that the slightest moment something gets boring or mundane we are ready to swipe left, click next or quickly tap into the next app. Christmas comes and goes as fast as you can put up and tear down the tree. So this year, I’ve challenged myself to truly soak and sit in the Christmas story and ponder the event we build so much anticipation for and how quickly we move on from it.
When you stop to think about it, it all seems ridiculous. I mean come on, “virgin birth?” Angels partying in the skies, and Wise men putting trust in astronomy? We believe it so well because the naiveness of our childhood has allowed us to trust in the story, but there is something I have never considered before. Something that makes the reason for why God did what He did so important. I kept coming back to the same question and I just stopped to chew on it for a while.
Why a BABY!
Seriously, what the heck, Jesus? Why on Earth (literally) would God choose to experience the human side of things starting with a baby? I think for any of us given the choice, we would have made sure we came down with the best security, best provisions, and best stability to this Earth if we were God. Yet God chose the risky side. God chose to surrender comfort and security and become completely vulnerable. Utterly dependent on a teenage Jewish girl from a backwoods area of Israel, God said this is how this plan is going to go. It makes NO SENSE!!! Unless we begin to understand the heart of God.
The truth is, God was secured in the stable. God was comforted and God had enough provision to last Him a lifetime. The point of the whole reason for a baby, I’m starting to see is not just for God to partake in the fullness of humanity, but ultimately God’s choice was reflecting back to us the dire need we were in.
Like a baby, unless the mother comes to nourish, sustain, and provide for the baby, left on its own the baby will die. God is not just telling us. God isn’t drawing analogies for us. God is living out the dire position we are in as humans! Left to wander from God we will starve, become malnourished, and ultimately it will lead to our deaths.
Every year I see the same pictures, paintings, and post of Mary holding Jesus looking intimately into His eyes, yet as I have pondered this thought now I see the pictures as if God is saying this is how I desire you! To comfort, hold, have intimacy with my children in a way that I have designed a Mother to do so for her child. Jesus is also looking intimately back at Mary reflecting the very feeling as well.
Why a baby? To tell us that if God is willing to be vulnerable, then ought we not to also be vulnerable to Him? To reflect the mother-child relationship and dependence of a child to a mom as an echo to our reality and dire need of a relationship with God.
This next Christmas, I encourage all of you to think about this. Think about the willingness of God to be vulnerable. Think about the need a child has for their parent and reflect for yourself-am I vulnerable to God or have I walled Him out? Do I understand the depravity of my life without His life-giving power?
This is truly good news. This is peace on Earth, divine peace given to all. Don’t let go of the Christ child too soon as the Holiday comes and goes, God hasn’t let go of you.