Dear Friends and Members of Faith UCC,
Christmas is the season that we celebrate the incarnation of God. The presence of God in the world – in our world. Not born into wealth and privilege. Not born on a regal mountain or grand fjord. Not born with power or clout. Not born to middle-aged, socially secure parents. Instead, God was born far away from all of those things.
Love was born in a rural, forgotten part of the world. Love was born in a feeding trough of a rickety barn. Love was born in the presence of watchful cattle and stinky donkeys. Love was born to naïve, anxious teenagers. Love was born as a baby – giggling, crying, sleeping, and all the other stuff babies do. Love was born with a need to be fed, nurtured, and snuggled. Yes, God was incarnated in this little expression of Love we call Jesus.
In Jesus, we see God’s incarnation revealed in a unique way – a nearly scandalous way. It challenges our notion of God being a bearded old man, an all-powerful ruler, or a CEO. Instead, the birth of Jesus reveals a God who isn’t afraid of real life. God isn’t afraid to be a dependant baby. God isn’t afraid of pregnant teenagers or smelly animals. God isn’t afraid to be in the midst of financial hardship or housing problems.
The God revealed through the birth of Jesus is a God who isn’t afraid to be present through the real “stuff” of life. Perhaps that is why people call Jesus by the name Emmanuel – God-with-us. God is with us through all situations in life. God is here to bring forth hope out of difficulty. God is here to bring forth joy in times of despair. God is here to bring good news to the poor. God is here to bring forth justice in systems of inequality. God is here to bring forth light in the darkness. God is here to bring forth divine love to all humanity.
God isn’t just sitting on a cloud in Heaven, removed from the world. God is right here, right now, working in and through each of us. At Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God is scandalously present in the everydayness of life. And through God’s radical incarnation in our lives, each of us gets to give birth to Love anew. Love is born anew each time the love, justice, and mutuality of God is shared.
Joy to the world!