So, why keep Christ in Christmas? Well, apart from that being the original purpose of Christmas, I think it’s a good time to ask ourselves, why did Jesus have to come as a baby? He could have come down all grown up and able to defend himself… but God chose to ask the collaboration of a young woman in this work, and God chose to be vulnerable and defenceless before us. Why do you think he would want those things?
One of my threads of thought lead me to wonder about how God has shown us that he trusted us. Despite the story of the Garden of Eden and all the many failings in-between, God still placed his trust in us, in humanity, to look after his baby son, Jesus. Jesus was almost homeless when he was born, but he was welcomed by strangers, and foreigners brought him precious gifts. Jesus wanted to come close to us, for us to open our hearts to him and welcome him into our lives, he wanted to grow with us and learn with us, he wanted to journey through life with us and yes, eventually to suffer with us. I am sure he wants us to not be afraid of trusting him back. It is a difficult thing, to trust in God, to let go and believe in an unknown future, but he did it with us! He showed us the way. I pray that I may learn to have something like the courage and abandon of Jesus. Let us all entrust our lives to Jesus, and to learn from him.
I am also thinking of the example he gives us in becoming human. Jesus was fully God and fully man, Jesus Christ shows us the holiness of our fleshy bodies that can hold the “form of God” (c.f. Philippians 2:6). It is through our human bodies, that we can imitate God, that we can serve, love, forgive, heal, even transform this world.
In the early Church there was a heresy called, Gnosticism, which taught that we were trapped inside our fleshy bodies, and we needed to escape from this bad situation. The Church rejected this, they affirmed that this is not what a true Christian believes.
Jesus teaches us, by being born in a simple stable, right through to suffering on a horrible cross, that being our body has a purpose and that it matters, it is part of our vocation, of who we are. Without it we could not love as God showed us how to love and serve in Jesus, we could not "work out our salvation" (c.f. Philippians 2:12). God loves us just as we are and calls us to be as we are.
This Christmas, let us trust in God, give our lives over to him… and let us celebrate the gift of our humanity, our fleshy and sometimes messy humanness, by which we can enter into relationship with God and others, and share the joy of the profound feast of the Birthday of Christ.