Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas has new meaning for me this year. A main reason is my exposure to infants.

At the hospital I’ve encountered some real sorrow; the devastation and pain of losing a child before and after birth. I’ve also been blessed to share in the joy of a newborn.

This Christmas break I have spent around my two 8 week old nieces. I drove them down to visit my family and spent a lot of time with them. Simply put; they are beautiful. (Look at that photo!) I have a new appreciation for parents. My sister and her husband never stop. I rarely see them spending a second of solitude, leisure, or escape. Day after day, cry after cry, burp after burp, they love these girls. It also gives me new appreciation for my parents, who had to put up with my twin bro and me.

This is the joy of Christmas, a child enter time and space to redeem humanity. The man known as Jesus Christ, was God, and born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. In thinking about this I realize an error in my thinking (imagine that!) I tend to think of Jesus as a super-human. Sure, I reason, he’s human but with an unfair advantage. After all he was perfect because he was God. It’s not hard to be perfect if you are God. It’s not hard to submit to the Father’s will if you are God’s son. But you see, it was hard. Jesus was a human.

It wasn’t like Jesus was a pre-molded human that was plopped down into the world. He was a distinct human. He was original material. Imagine this; if Jesus was born today he would be different.

If Jesus was born to a single African American mother in Chicago he would be different.
If Jesus was born to a family in Nazi Germany in 1950 he would be different.
If Jesus was born during the apartheid in Africa he would be different.
If Jesus was born during the Spanish revolution he would be different.

Take the first example. His name maybe would not be Jesus. He would maybe be a she! He would not be a 1st century Middle Eastern man. He would not look like a Middle Eastern man but more like a 20th century African American. He would speak English, not Aramaic. Read left to right, not right to left. His ministry would involve the contemporary religious bodies, not the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Zealots. There would be no tax collectors or fisherman. There would be no Roman government. Jesus would have different quirks. Different dreams. Different hopes. Different fears. Different friends. Different frustrations. Different family traditions. Different shoes. A different diet.

But none of these worldly differences would change him. He would still be the Son of God. Still be the perfect human. Still be the way through which the fallen humanity is restored. Still be the child who brings salvation to the earth. That is why I still follow and celebrate.

Thanks Jesus. Your first trip to earth was incredible. I’m looking forward to when you decide to make another visit. Come soon.

Merry Christmas all.

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