Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Baby Changes Everything

Sometime before the holiday season really started ramping up, I remember asking God to let me feel His presence in a meaningful way this year.  I didn't want to get so caught up (as I am apt to do) in the doing, the buying and the overall busyness that seems to accompany this season.  There have been moments of craziness, and maybe I am speaking too soon, but it feels like we are settling in for a nice peaceful Christmas time. I have to say I've felt God's hand in many ways this holiday season;  in a book, (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - whole 'nother blog post entirely and a must read) in a sermon (go figure) and strangely, even in the trials of various friends and family (their incredible faith comes shining through).

As things come back around, in a way that I feel only God can orchestrate, we had the privilege of hearing a former pastor from the small country church I grew up in, speak at the church we are attending now.  I was curious to hear him speak simply because of that connection to Newkirk church. Even though I was rather young and not too interested in the whole sermon thing back then, I do remember him being an excellent speaker. He is a former football coach, so his delivery is a bit different than most preachers.  He - no let me rephrase that - God, did not disappoint.  He read from John 1 and spoke about darkness and how it is more something that is felt rather than actually seen. Our eyes may perceive darkness, but our souls feel it.  He talked about conflict and power and reconciliation.  He and his wife give tours of the Holy Land.  They have had a first hand look at a seemingly endless conflict and what it can do - or undo.  He made the point that in order for reconciliation to take place, two parties have to be on equal terms, or the one with the "power" needs to empty themselves in order to bring about peace.

Having heard the Christmas story any number of times in my life and even in the course of a Christmas season, it starts to just tinkle around in your head and sometimes never makes it to your heart.  Yes, Jesus was born in a manger, there were shepherds, wisemen and angels.  It all becomes a bit too rote. Why a baby?

Earlier in the same service a lovely woman in our church who has walked through the darkness of breast cancer, spoke about a time when her baby fell down the steps to their basement which they happened to be remodeling at the time.  All she could do was scream for her husband, and watch her child tumble down each and every hard, un-carpeted step, head first, and land with a thud on the hard pavement below.  He was okay, but what parent hasn't been there?  Stood there helpless with the possibility or the reality of their child being harmed.

She went on to wonder if that was how God felt.  Did his stomach and his heart lurch as He watched His beloved Son fall down the stairs of heaven to this dark earth to be hurt and even die?  By His choice, God emptied himself in the form of a helpless babe, to be on equal footing with us, with whom He wishes to be reconciled. Not ridiculous or improbable. Of course, it had to be a baby.

God gave us the most incredible gift.  It was not us seeking him. Crazy as it seems, He must have really taken a shine to those early morning walks in the garden with Adam and Eve and He wants us back.  He loves us, He really does.  I hope you feel that in a very real way this Christmas.


Baloney said...

Thanks for this post. It was exactly what I was looking for this morning.
Merry Christmas!

Mrs. E said...

What a lovely post! I needed that!

@nnie said...

Thanks for putting the Christmas story in a deeper light for me today. I am too craving that deeper understanding, a richer closeness to Him this season.

A Closer Walk with Thee