Thursday, December 24, 2009
The miraculous scandal of Christmas!
As I write this, it is Christmas Eve -- and the Christmas season is about to BEGIN! We've been waiting throughout the weeks of Advent for the coming of Christ. Tomorrow we begin the 12 day celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ.
Think about it -- God, the creator of everything we see, chose to enter into our world, taking on flesh, blood, skin, and bones. We call this incarnation. It's bizarre, isn't it?
What's more, God didn't choose a noble birth. Mary was no queen. Joseph was not a wealthy man. They were peasants in a rural town -- out in the sticks, so to speak. Worse yet, they were far from home that starry night, and couldn't even get a respectable room. Instead, Mary ended up giving birth in a stable -- where the inn keeper kept his animals. It was likely little more than a rough cave in a rocky hillside with the thick sent of manure in the air.
It's scandalous -- don't you think?
I mean, God could have worked out a system where it wasn't necessary to be so lowly. Yet, God choose humanity. Jesus was a little baby, crying and soiling diapers in a dirty feeding trough! Once we find God in a stable, God could be anywhere!
We can turn our back on God: walking away from the hungry woman; ignoring the homeless man. God put God's-self at our mercy.
Incarnation is messy. It means that God cares about human flesh -- about our bodies. Christianity isn't merely about some heaven we can only imagine. Jesus came to show us how to live in our world - in our time. God has walked the earth, been scolded by parents, spent time starving in a desert, loved people, made friends, been betrayed, been tortured and executed. God doesn't merely sympathize with our daily struggles -- God empathizes, suffering with us, because God understands what it is like to be human.
This is the miracle of Christmas, and it's a scandal. The revolution of hope and love beginning in a no-place with people that were not otherwise notable.
So take heart that God can use anyone -- and wants to use you!