When you think about it, it was an interesting way to begin. An unplanned, unexpected pregnancy to a couple who had not come under the same roof yet to full be husband and wife. The wife had disappeared for a length of time to see a relative who was said to be barren and unable to have children. But the old couple did and they had a son. Angels came to the wife and then to the husband to reassure them that what was happening was of God and that God was at work in them and through them. Angels went to the couple and then to shepherds and whispered in the night to magi who had come to see and worship the new born king.
It would seem in our modern moment that we are more worried about what we want. Can we afford it? No problem that is what the credit card is for; we can deal with the fall out in January when the bill comes. That way we know that Santa Claus isn’t going to disappoint. We can even taunt the jolly ol’ elf with text messages telling him he is too late because we when out and got what we wanted and we really don’t want anything from him. As one Christmas commercial put it, Me – 1 and Elf Boy – 0. I have noticed in our culture we are moving more and more away from the idea that Christmas is about what happened that night in the stable more that 2000 years ago and that Santa has become an inept deliverer as well so we are going to have to save ourselves.
And yet in the younger generation there is still that hope. Kids understand that Jesus taught Santa how to give; that there is the need to be generous, caring and kindest in them as well as in the world. One of the things I want to work at is bringing a little bit of Christmas into each and every day so that someone can see and meet the King. After all didn’t John’s Gospel remind us that God came to his own and his own did not receive? God was in the world and the world didn’t know it. And if that is true then what else do we not know? Christmas is about God coming to us. He has come to us and made his presence among us made known. We can see his glory, we can receive what he has to offer and never be the same again – we can be reborn (anothen). We can go from what’s in it for me and why me, Lord to hearing the words, “Come, follow me.”
This is the moment when we are squarely challenged with questions like, “Do you believe that God still comes?” and “Do you believe that God is still at work in the world?” Most people believe that God is watching and keeping track but is not involved. Let this Christmas dispel that notion once and for all – God is here and he is involved through the life of his one and only Son. God comes to us in the flesh so that we might know him and live – really and truly live. God is doing things: great things and small things. God is doing things: mundane things and exceptional things. God is at work helping us as his Church to make know that God is here and he wants to share his love and his life with us. That is not something you will not find under the tree or in a brightly wrapped package in the closet. It is found in the earthenware jars that are us, waiting to burst out. And that can only happen if we learn to be like Mary and Joseph, heeding the voice of angels and the Message of God. Take some time and give thanks for the gifts that you have been given and thank God that the unwrapping of our undomesticated Christmas is still going on.