|“Birth of Christ”, Robert Campin
There is not one of us that does not love The Christmas Story. It’s got it all–heartache, darkness, intrigue, danger, animals, innocence, an oppressive government, and a baby to boot. It’s got all those things that make great tales. No wonder it’s a bestseller! No wonder there are so many songs written about it (that we at this moment cannot WAIT to sing!) But for all the romantic notions of a baby born into a cold desert night in a small town on the other side of the world to poor, struggling parents, this story is not about a birth. It’s not a story about Jesus. This is the Story of God.
It began long before this. It began in the beginning. It began when God breathed a part of the Godself into being and created this little world. And as the story unfolded, as God’s Creation grew into being, God remained with them, a mysterious, often unknown Presence, that yearned to be in relationship with what God had breathed into being. And once in a while, God’s children would stop what they were doing long enough to know and acknowledge the incarnations of God. Once in awhile, they would encounter a burning bush or a parting sea or an unfathomable cloud on the top of a mountain. Once in awhile they would stop, take off their shoes, and feel the holiness beneath their feet. But more often than not, they struggled in darkness, they struggled in war, they struggled in oppression and injustice because they didn’t see the Light that was with them. God called them and God sent them and some were prophets and some were wise and some were yearning themselves to be with God. Some wrote hymns and poetry telling of their yearning and others just bowed and hoped that God would notice.
This wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough for the people and it wasn’t enough for God. God yearned to be with what God had created. God desperately wanted humanity to be what they were made to be, to come home to the Divine. And so God came once again, God Incarnate, into this little world. But this time, God came as what God had created. And so God was born into a cold, dark night. But the earth was almost too full. There was little room for God. But, on that night, in a dark grotto on the outskirts of holiness, God was born. The Divine somehow made room in a quiet, little corner of the world. God came to show Creation what had been there all along. And, yet, there was Newness; there was Light; there was finally Meaning; there was God Made Known.
The Incarnation (the “big I” one!) is God’s unveiling. It is God coming out of the darkness and out of the shadows and showing us what we could not see before. God became one of us to show us how to be like God in the world. So, in this season, we again hear the story. We hear the story of God. But unless we realize that it is our story, it still won’t be enough. God came as God Incarnate into this little world to tell the story that goes back to the beginning. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1: 1-5) And the story continues…
In this season of Advent, give yourself the gift of being a part of the story, of being Light, of being Life, of being who you were created to be in the beginning. Give yourself the gift of making room for God.
Grace and Peace,