Here at the Eurey house we have already searched out our Christmas CD’s. We have stationed our ITunes playlist and radios to play all our holiday songs. Soon Ed will drag out the movies, Christmas Story, The Nativity, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch That Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Polar Express. Our movie marathon will soon commence. Decorating will begin in earnest at the week’s end with tinsel, ribbons and greenery abounding. That’s just the way we roll around here at Christmas.
Over at the church, the Chrismon tree is up, the lights are on, the wreaths are on the doors, and the banners of Christmas are hanging throughout the place. The scent of cinnamon and pine has become the incense of the season.
The first Sunday of Advent is the start of the Christian year. I think that is very appropriate because Jesus’ birth marks the beginning of life for each of us (whether we know or accept it or not). This year I have been thinking about Jesus and the miracle of God becoming one of us. The first question I have is always, why? Why would God leave glory in the first place? I mean, would you? Would you leave heaven for earth?
But that is just what God did. God became incarnate, embodied in flesh. God moved in with us, took the name of Jesus, and was a son, a brother, an uncle in his family. Jesus was loved by his mother, his father, his brothers and sisters, and his friends. He walked on legs like ours, held hands like we do, combed his hair and whispered in a soft voice. He worked hard (in those days there was no easy work). He enjoyed people, had compassion, ate supper and laughed. Jesus was kind to children and to people whose lives were torn apart. He got perturbed. He argued. He went off by himself. He cried, was hurt, got cold, and felt grief same as us. He was tempted by things and people. He was misunderstood, criticized, called demonic and abandoned by his best friends. In the end, God was murdered for moving in with us.
So why? Why did God give us God’s self for Christmas? Every day I realize that it’s simply a mysterious, mind-bending, unplumbable reason. God loves us.
Therefore this is our story, the story of God who loves us so much that he was willing to leave heaven just so we can know him, just so we can be rescued from, well…ourselves. Jesus came to give us what we could not get on our own, freedom to live without fear of death, freedom to live in peace and joy, freedom to know God’s love, and freedom to continue to tell this beautiful story over and over again in our Christmas songs, in our Christmas movies, through live nativities, from brightly adorned trees, in millions of twinkling lights, and in gifts given and received.
And the most amazing thing is this. Jesus still comes today. Every day that we receive him he is among us; he is around us; he is within us; he is present. Because really, God never left. God’s Spirit has been and will be the eternal abiding way for life for all of humanity.
Let us ring the Christmas Bells, celebrate, and be thankful to the one who saves us!