This is Christmas

Have you ever noticed so many horrible events happen during the month of December? There always seems to be massive job losses, loved ones dying from cancer or old age, shootings, tornadoes, and this year Aleppo, along with all of the regular devastations. For many years now, almost since I’m really able to remember, I’ve had a huge dislike for December. I’m a bit of a Scrooge, and the “Bah Humbug” is a virus I seem to catch every year. Some years, I’ve allowed the Bah Humbug to take its course, and other years, I fight against the Bah Humbug melancholy. I’ve thought that perhaps it’s a touch of seasonal affective disorder, or maybe all the abnormally happy people who thrive in the midst of candy canes and annoying Christmas tunes, but I have another option that I lean into throughout December.

I believe with all my heart, mind, and soul that the Advent/Christmas season is supposed to be painful. I believe that as we remember again the birth of Emmanuel, the birth of God with us, to a scared, yet faithful young Jewish mother in a smelly and sweaty stable, our hearts are swelling uncomfortably in our chests with gratitude and disbelief simultaneously. God becoming a helpless, crying, hungry baby contradicts our image of a powerful, controlled, and satisfied Creator. Our God submitted to an earthly life full of disease, sorrow, and death. Our God not only becomes flesh, but comes as the most insignificant of humans, and is fed, loved, and vulnerable in the arms of another insignificant human, a young girl named Mary. Are you able to feel God’s submission to humanity in God’s birth? Are you able to empathize with Mary as she holds God in her arms, nurses God, disciplines God, and plays with God? Are you able to fully feel the weight of God who has let go of God’s power and become completely, absolutely vulnerable to humankind?

There is pain in December. There is sorrow in December. There is loss in December. Then, there is birth in December. By all means, embrace the joy of the Christmas season. Embrace your special food, your special gifts, and your special family time. But, embrace the pain too. Wonder about this little God baby, Jesus. Wonder about his young, wise mother and his protective, dreaming father. Think about God breaking through the chaos and the ugliness that was our world, is our world, and is yet to be our world. Think about God breaking into Sandy Hook Elementary four years ago in December, think about God breaking into tornado ravaged Rowlett last December, and think about God breaking into Aleppo this December.

Christmas compels us to be more sensitive to God and others. The Holiday Season from Thanksgiving through Christmas thrusts us into other lives and encourages us to practice selfless, radical community. This is God breaking through our messy families. This is God breaking through our hectic travel plans. This is God breaking through our checking accounts, and claiming all our earthly treasures in heaven’s name. Lean into the pain and wonder, and submit to being completely overwhelmed by God’s love for the world. This is Christmas.


Other Posts You Might Like:

Faith - Jabbarri Jones

Stop Doing It Your Own Way - Laurie Templeton

Cycle of Insanity - Casey McCollum

What Does It Mean To Be a Member of a Church? - Beau Davis

Even Superman Had to Learn to Fly - Dan Cooke

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