Christmas Eve, Dec. 24:
Two prompts for a special day…
The incarnation is a kind of vast joke whereby the Creator comes among us in diapers… Until we too have taken the idea of God as man seriously enough to be scandalized by it, we have not taken it as seriously as it demands to be taken. — Frederick Beuchner
In most of the churches I’ve attended as an adult, Christmas is dressed up as a children’s holiday… It does not begin to do justice to the message of God become human. — Krista Tippett
Well, we made it! It’s Christmas Eve. And 70 degrees? Ah, well, life is full of mystery and surprises…
Like God showing up as a human.
… Not just some hallmark card image of an incredibly gemütlich manger scene with a beautiful, chubby, healthy baby boy, the straw and his halo like golden locks about his head.
… Not some disembodied, diaphanous idea of God as a perfected human, the bodhisattva Jesus. Rather a painfully real human — like you or me. A human needing to learn so much along the way… desperately trying to figure out how to live with his confusion,
the prejudices of his tribe and the prejudices of others’ tribes,
his sexual feelings,
crazy interactions with others and
internal emotional tides that wash him this way and that…
Are we SCANDALIZED by the arrival of God as a totally dependent, human baby; are we SCANDALIZED by the human life of God as one who had to suffer the hardships and tedium and setbacks of being a regular person?
Are we doing justice to the MESSAGE of God become human?
Christmas Eve assignment:
A) The ways of God always mean more than we could ever comprehend, therefore humility! But today of all days,
B) shouldn’t we be stretching to grasp after the understanding that Christianity teaches… what the holy story exhorts us to:
Try and begin to see all human flesh as sacred. I mean that literally — the flesh itself. Yours and other people’s.
Try this Christmas to be “incarnational,” which means at the least trying not to be more spiritual than God!
Love birth marks. And freckles. Moles. Skin color, even discolorations.
Love hair, whether you think it’s too straight or curly, too much or too thin, going gray or going away.
Love different weight — even if you think more would be better or know that less would be healthier.
Love allergies, as difficult as they sometimes can be.
And the recurrent rash that never seems to go away.
Love the cholesterol (especially if it’s not from eating too much fat, but because your body produces too much).
Love clumsiness, even that sometimes results in injury.
Love your color-blindness and the need for corrected vision.
Love the wrinkles and age spots.
Love the parts that we are taught must be covered and kept private.
Love the way hips click when you move them and how backs crack.
Love indigestion and delicate stomachs.
Love that weakness after the injury — a bad grip or less than 360 degree shoulder.
Love the delays that happen in our responses as we age.
God is born one of us. It is good to be human (what choice to we have anyway?!).
Extra-credit: Read Philippians 2:5-11 (one of a few New Testament Pslams!) at least twice today, with a significant time between each reading. What is God saying to you?