Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Jesus In The Real World
His birth was heralded by angels, while taking place during political turmoil, and before long his family was on the run from a narcissistic king. He escaped, but the children of Bethlehem did not. I hate that part of the story. How do we go from good tidings of great joy to the wail of Bethlehem's mothers who won't be comforted because their children are no more?
And yet the world Jesus entered is the same world we entered upon our birth. A world of terror, a world of simple joy, all swirled together in the human experience. Attempting to sterilize the story of Jesus birth does us a disservice. We need him to be one of us.
It's precisely because violent men kill small children, then and now, that Jesus joined the human race. He came not to suggest a better way of living, or establish a utopia, he came to wage war. He came to lead us home.
How many Christmases have we spent festive and partying, celebrating a baby wrapped in tradition, obscured by culture, forgetting that the night the sky tore open and God's glory spilled out, it was heaven's warriors that came, announcing the strategy for the victory of an ancient battle. Jesus birth wasn't the soft, velvety scene from a Christmas card. It was full of political intrigue, murder plots, terror, and scandal.
This Christmas season I feel particularly tumultuous. I don't know why, it could be my own personal struggles. But I also think it has to do with the weariness I feel in this world. She's groaning and straining under the weight of the curse and either I'm more aware of what's going on or things are getting worse. The shooting at Sandy Hook school was terrible but let's be honest, was there really more suffering that day than the day before or the day after. Our world is suffering, violence is real.
Evil stalked Newtown on Friday, and carved out a momentary victory. Let's not forget evil stalks humanity every moment of every day. Which is why the angels shouted, good news Salvation has come! And why the shepherds were told to go and see. After the shepherds saw their salvation they shouted it far and wide, to men and women who lived in darkness they proclaimed the light. God was with them in a way he never had been before.
I want my neighbor, who's yard last night was full of cops and whose children were crying in the night, to know that God is with me, and can be with her as well. I want to combat evil with Christ in me, our only hope of glory, our only means of Salvation. Jesus is not a stranger to the ache of life, it's what he was born for. It's what I'm reborn for. To display his glory to dying men, that they may have true life.
"In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5