God with us! Emmanuel. The Most High came to walk this life with us. The Word became Flesh.
In our society, we look for earthly guidance through those established in life. They have money, charisma, luxury cars, high goals, nice clothes, and they are the boss of their own lives. We see the people who have perfected the pulling up of the bootstraps as people to look up to. We want to follow their get rich quick plans and 10 “easy steps” to success.
Yet, God came to be with us through extremely humble beginnings. Mary, a lowly middle-eastern teen mom pregnant out-of-wedlock, used as the vessel to nourish and develop Peace on Earth. Joseph, your average humble carpenter, is the earthly father. They were shut out at the inn, forced give birth in a stable. Go ahead. Close your eyes and picture your baby being born in a stable. Do not shudder at the thought. Walk through this image. Embrace it. God, the great I AM, come to us through a teen womb, in a stable, laid in a scratchy bed of hay. Jesus is surrounded by the stench of animal feces and dirt. Only to become a refugee, forced to flee for His life. Later, he’d become an immigrant, seeking safety in a land so that He may teach. Oh, great Rabbi! How much we could learn, if we’d open our hearts.
God could have easily came down, riding a chariot-shaped cloud. “Behold! I bring Good News! Just follow the rules and you’ll be good!” Instead, through His Son Jesus, His life with us is filled with teachable moments and metaphors to help us understand the mystery.
From the womb to the state sanctioned murder of Jesus, we see hope. Hope for the poor, the marginalized, and even for the rich and powerful. Even from the shepherds, the unclean shepherds get to take part. The Magi, the other folks down the way, were shown the way with the brightest star. Lesson after lesson of inclusion, diversity, and God using the lowly and outsiders in the birth of Jesus, in the story of the Giving to the world.
Merry Christmas! May everyday be Christmas in your heart.