…on gods and babies

Ronella and I have spent the last two Christmas weeks with a 1, 2, 3, and 4 year old, a 3 week and 3 month old.  A bunch of nieces and nephews running around, crying and pooping.  Its been a lot of fun of course—despite a few headaches, but what has really grabbed a hold of me has been remembering the original Christmas with all these little munchkins running around.

You see, we clutter Christmas with such a mirage of materialism and sentimentalized religion we forget the actual purpose of Christmas: to humbly remember the day that God embarked upon the human adventure Himself, becoming a little Palestinian baby.  The Son of God left the realm of eternity with the Father and literally became one of us.  He took on the weakness and frailty of ourselves in our infant state.  There was a time when God was like little Mara—too weak to even hold His own head up.  There was a time, like Ainsley, He could not so much as feed Himself or utter a single word.  Like little Noe, God once experienced the frustration of being unable to control His own bladder.  Like Elle, God suffered the conniving ways of siblings and was unable to restore justice except to cry to Mother Mary.  Like Ava, God could not read the Bible and like Cooper, God could not preach the Good News except in mysteriously prophetic phrases that were all at once terribly cute yet memorably inspiring.  God was utterly frail, helpless—unable to do a single thing on His own on that first Christmas.

The Inception of Incarnation—Christmas—was a radical expression of God’s love and solidarity with us.  The Son of God forsook the praise of all creation for 33 years, poured out His own glory, and became a “worthless” baby that could not so much as wipe its own butt.  How, on Christmas, can we forget how vast God’s love for us?  How strong his desire for relationship with us?

The Incarnation was a day when the whole world was turned completely upside down.  The all-powerful King could not walk.  The all-knowing God could not comprehend even the most basic Aramaic.  The ever-present Deity was immovably confined to swaddling clothes.  Perhaps this might upset our definition of power?  Of greatness?  Of effectiveness?  I pray Christmas will challenge us to incredible humility and servant hood.  I pray that in the midst of gargantuan gifts, luminous light shows and mountainous meals, Christ will inspire us towards meekness, peacemaking, and above all, love.

As we reflect back on Christmas and the Incarnation, let us look to the children at our feet rather than the tacky decorations and caricaturized, Anglo-Saxon nativity scenes that so easily distance and trivialize one of the most profound moments of all eternity.

Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.

phi 2.5-11

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