God with us Advent 4; Matthew 1:23 Commercial Christmas has no place for God, yet baby Jesus, Season’s icon, might be found on billboards and the internet. Lip service offered blandly may still serve to claim him space within our consciousness. Co-opted and profaned as pretext, still Christ’s coming stands as challenge to the urge to get and spend in search of Christmas cheer. Nativities on Christmas cards are scarce; the baubles, tinselled trees and doves of peace make secular what once was steeped in awe. Still sacrosanct are Christmas holidays: ironic that that word for our escapes derives from “Holy Days”. What’s holy now - a fair, white baby with a haloed head, re-incarnated as a folk lore tale? When Christ in our own image is disguised, the Virgin Mary a suburban Mum dressed up to look religious in a shawl, are we struck blind with scales upon our eyes, so “God with us” cannot be recognized? Or is this how the incarnation works, with Christ as homeless here as he was there, come to his own but made a refugee? Now are there only wise ones from afar who dare to make a journey with a star? Perhaps angelic messengers prefer to come to herders camping in the hills, where vision is not dimmed by city lights, but open to the vastness of the skies, attuned to animals and ancient land, where birth and death write meaning in the wind. So who is Christ to you this Christmas time – the cute and pristine babe of sentiment, or some poor waif who huddles in the dark, left by the wayside of our privilege, no hope of presents or of Christmas food? The God who cries for justice for the poor would come among us on the margins still, and offer there his body as Christ mass. Barbara Messner Christmas 2017
4 thoughts on “God with us”
Thank you Barbara. Wonderful words.
Thank you. Lovely to have your supportive comment.
We are always asking whether who he is for us is who we know he should be, the waif, or whether we let it all hang as symbol.
I’ve had people say they wanted to walk out of one of my Christmas sermons because I went with the waif and questioned the sentimental privileged white co-opting of the nativity image.