Saturday, December 09, 2006


What is remarkable about the Christmas story - indeed, about the entire story of Christ - is how very unremarkable it is. The great commonness of the story, of the circumstances of His birth and upbringing and death, is what underscores and places in sharp relief the unfathomable wonder of His reality.

Born to poor, ordinary people, He was also born into a regal and priestly heritage. His father was a descendant of the great King David, and His mother cousined to a member of the priesthood, but neither of these attributes in any way signify that greatness and miraculous events will stem from their marriage. And they loved and raised a Saviour. They parented God.

He was homeless for much of His life. Born in a stable, sharing hay and warmth with livestock, His parents escaped with Him to Egypt to avoid the wrath and paranoia of King Herod. It was only after Herod's death that His family brought Him back to His homeland, the people whom He was born to save. As an adult, He wandered throughout His country, relying on the kindness and generosity of strangers and faithful for shelter. He was ostracized in Nazareth, where He and Mary and Joseph had made their home after the return from Egypt.
He was neither kingly nor awesome. His life, His circumstances, were decidely human, decidedly common. And that is what is most beautiful about His story.

I have often pondered the Christ-question. So easy is it to wonder, "if God wanted so dearly for us to be saved, why suffer the birth and death of His Son - of His very self - to make it so? Could He not simply allow it to be? But in reading Old Testament scripture, one comes to understand that He wishes
truly to save the people He so carefully and thoughfully created out of His deep love. Merely saving us from damnation is not enough. The making right, the making whole, of our souls is necessary. We need to be put into a state of grace, a somewhat state of understanding and oneness with God, which could only be achieved through sacrifice. How better can He demonstrate our great worth while also making clear to us our painfully broken nature?

So He came, and dwelt among us, and was one of us, was one with us, and One for us. And His sacrifice
also became ours, and we were made to be right with God, no longer separated from, but together with Him, despite our brokenness, despite our sin. We are made able to ascend out of the mire of sin and heartache, and live in the Love of God. A love so perfect and everlasting as to become common. For He is common; He is in common with all People. The humanity of the story, the humanity of the Nativity, is what is so deeply compelling. We are driven to act.

What will you do?

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