The incarnation of the Person of Christ, which we identify as our Christmas season has gone through many changes in my lifetime. Judith and I endeavor to never lose our “Joy to the World” delight and, like many of you, seriously seek to maintain our childlikeness.
Allow me, if you will, as a papa and grandpapa to attempt to add to your Christmas joy, regardless of the present circumstances, unsolved problems, and inevitable relational hassles. If we are not on our guard, the raw, sometimes ugly issues of life do have the capacity to steal our joy. Our voices are transformed from joy to the world to sounds of complaint and murmuring about unmet need.
Jesus Christ, being born in a stable has spoken to Judith and me quite forcibly this season. In simple, uncomplicated beauty the incarnation of Jesus Christ was Father’s way of beginning to make Himself known. Incarnation is the Self-revelation of God. Unless and until He chooses to make Himself known, it is not humanly possible for man to know or discover Him.
His determined choice to be born in a stable was to make sure that none of us ever assumed we would feel excluded or too financially poor to qualify as recipients of His love and presence. He chose to fully identify with the poorest of the poor, the lowest of the low, and the disenfranchised of all society.
Strangely, when this Christ Child is placed in a literal feeding trough, which someone identified as the very first “King-sized Bed,” He was telling us something we must not miss. This Child is God the Father revealed. To see Him, was to see the Father. The New Jerusalem Bible says: “He is the radiant Light of God’s Glory and the perfect copy of God’s Nature, sustaining the Universe by God’s powerful command” (Heb. 1:3).
Our Christmas gift to you this year consists of some greater insight into the fact that we are stables: very earthy; extremely frail; and rather unkempt. Often, our behavior is rather smelly like a literal stable. Then, in some analogous manner, He chooses to birth Himself in us. We, like Him, become the “letter that is read of all men.” Humanity is seeking to know the Father. He is God’s Message. We must see that we too are His message! God’s Own humility is being revealed in Christ and in us.
Let us celebrate this Christmas season with this delightful and eternal truth as a central part of our understanding. This Christ, born in a stable, has chosen to also be birthed in us: we are also His stable out of which comes His witness. In some mysterious way we too have been assigned to become “that humble Bread of Life” lying in a feeding trough, given for the hope of the world:
I have given them the glory you gave me,
That they may be one as we are one,
With me in them and you in me,
May they be so completely One
That the world will realize that it was You who sent me
(John 17:22,23 New Jerusalem Bible).