Maybe I’m biased, but I love Christmas! Not for the presents and holidays, but because it’s such a striking reminder that God is with us (Emmanuel). The whole world stops for just that one day to collectively celebrate union – our common oneness with God and each other. Christmas is an invitation to refocus on the revelation of God in Christ; how this God continues to be revealed to us through our world and those with whom we share it. There are many moments throughout the year, none more so than 2020, when fear, doubt, loneliness and sadness emerge on the horizon only to be overcome by the light and love of a God who stands by us through think and thin.
This is so powerfully expressed in the birth of Jesus. As my friend and colleague, Rev’d Sue Grimmett of St Andrew’s Indooroopilly wrote recently, “When we prepare for the coming of God, we can never be sure where or how that visitation will occur. After all, if divinity can bed down as a wailing infant in a pile of straw amongst livestock, holiness can emerge anywhere and everywhere”. Christ the King, our King, was born unaided, without fanfare, amid the muck of livestock to an unwed teenager. There was no power or privilege; no presents. Not even a cot.
The story of Jesus is our story. To start with nothing, as a ‘no one’, destined for the cross, with a purpose yet be revealed. We’ve all felt the weight of that cross in some form in 2020. And yet, amid it all, God stood with us. By sharing our humanity and doing so in such a paradoxical way, God through Christ demonstrates we are not and never were alone. God knows what it feels like to trudge through the proverbial parts of life. God knows what it feels like to start with nothing, as a ‘no one’, destined for the cross. Thanks be to God that our purpose has now been revealed: common union. I pray this Christmas we all have eyes to see it!