“For today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” – Luke 2:11.
In other words: God is here, oh yeah!
Now I know you’re not God. I’m not either. But just, for one second, imagine if…
Imagine if you were God. If you were ready to send forth your own son to the place and people you created. To rescue them. To save them. How would you do it? What might that look like? What would it sound like?
Well, if I was God… I’d probably plan a wild, grand entrance. An inspiring one. Like when the superheroes show up in a Marvel movie. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk… and all the rest. There would be epic symphonic music, the kind that gives you goosebumps. I would probably have one of the side characters proclaim at exactly the right moment: “God is here, oh yeah!”
Well, thank God I’m not God. And even though that’s the sort of thing people were hoping for and waiting for at the time, that’s far from what they received.
You know the story…
Mary and Joseph far away from home.
No room at the inn.
A small, vulnerable infant born who could not survive without his parents.
The first announcement made to shepherds, who were that era’s equivalent of the homeless, the lowliest of low.
Manger. On the ground and in the dirt.
Barnyard animals. You know what that smells like, right?
Being banished to a foreign land as immigrants because of the threat of danger.
How much more un-Marvel superhero-esque could you possibly get?
It gets better from there though, right? The young boy grows up to conquer? To be mighty. To save the day!
It’s a good thing none of us are God. I don’t think any of us would have planned it this way.
What is your experience of Jesus? Is he who you expected? Who you wanted? Or does he challenge you? Does he maybe even frighten you a little. Do the words: “pick up a cross and follow me” or “sell everything you own” or “love your enemy” confuse you? Maybe even frighten you a little?
Many of us associate Christmas with presents, Santa, good cheer, family and friends, Lifetime and Hallmark movies, bright lights, familiar music… as well it should. But Christmas is, of course, more than that. It is something that should shake our world a little. It should matter. It should change us. It should upend us and maybe, yes maybe, even frighten us a little. Because Christmas should challenge us. It should challenge our expectations, disrupt our lives and call us to something greater.
Left to our own devices, we don’t ever amount to all that much. We are life without love, body without soul, existence without meaning. And despite whatever comes our way, whether comfort or wealth, power or prestige, position or abundance…
… none of that lasts. None of it matters.
What does? Forgiveness. Serving others. Love. Sacrifice. Humility. Those are the real superpowers. That’s where Jesus comes in to the scene…
Cue the epic symphonic music.
God is here, oh yeah!
And Merry Christmas!