Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Unto us a child is born

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David." - Luke 1:68-69

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." - John 1: 14

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him... On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh." - Matthew 2:1-2; 11

In one hour, it will be Christmas.

I would first like to state that I do, in fact, recognize that historically, this is not the accurate date for Christ's birth, and is actually a celebration that tried to amalgamate Christian beliefs with old non-Christian religious festivals held during the winter solstice.

Nonetheless, whether Jesus was born in mid-August, mid-December, or mid-April (the most accurate time of his birth), I can never give up a chance to celebrate a good thing.

So here begins my thoughts about Christmas.

Jesus came as a little baby, born out of a virgin womb, to the world. He was born to a woman who was not yet married, and was probably an outcast from her community, as it is likely people failed to believe in immaculate conception as much as we fail to believe it today.

He was born outside, through the pains and disgusting fluids of childbirth, and then placed in the lowliest of places - a manger, a feeding trough for animals. He was a crying, pooping, bloody little child, but in him, the world would find its salvation.

And then, who were the first to find out about the coming of this small child but shepherds, outcasts of society who spent their days in fields watching sheep. The poor, outcast shepherds. And the angels came not to the kings, not to the priests, not to the teachers or leaders or wealthy or even to family relatives of Mary or Joseph - they came to the shepherds.

The coming of Christ was not on clouds of fire, but it was a coming that reached to the hearts of the outcasts. It was for the people that society deemed unworthy, but who God saw as beautiful. Christ, in his lowly, baby state, was a king. And not a king of the powerful, but of the meek, the humble, the "inept", the impoverished, the "others", the ones that people said weren't worth it.

He was the God of people like me.

My comment is whether or not we have fully come to recognize how that role extends to the church. Because if that is the case, if Christ came first to the outcasts, then this is where we should be. Especially at Christmas.

So where is the outcast amongst you today? Is it your neighbours down the street? Is it the man you see on the street corner each morning? Is it the woman wrapped in blankets, sleeping on the sidewalk? Is it the new immigrant family that is searching for a friend? Is it your parents? Is it your uncle? Is it your wife?

God is not the God of the perfect. He is the God of the meek and humble. And he came in a meek and humble state, living a human life - fully aware of our pain, our sorrow, our struggles - to understand our needs, to save us from our sins, and to set up his kingdom.

I find it interesting that Jesus came as a child, and then used children to illustrate who the greatest among his disciples should be.

Matthew 18:2-3 "At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And Jesus called a little child to him, and set him in the middle of them, and said, "Truly I say to you, except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."

So I ask myself if I am ready to become a child before God. Am I ready to become last, to trust in Him completely, to give up everything for Him, but to be His child?

I think I am, partially because I doubt anyone but Him would accept a screw up like me. Now to get my life in line with it. But like a child, I am learning, making mistakes, asking forgiveness, and then getting back up again. And this is the best I can give. 

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; ...and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."