Being well into December it’s probably safe to say that a fair few of you (myself included) have been getting excited about Christmas for quite some time now. Somehow the celebrations seem to begin earlier and earlier every year, which is no bad thing if it means you can eat as much chocolate as you like without getting told off.
Christmas is a season full of weird and wonderful traditions, with new ones added every year- already people are saying that it’s not really Christmastime until the John Lewis ad hits our TV screens. But the reason for Christmas which has always been a constant is of course the nativity- Jesus born into the world with a special mission for humankind. The nativity is perhaps the most familiar part of the bible to the world, a story we’ve been told year upon year growing up (I’m sure we all have embarrassing stories of being forced on stage as a shepherd with a fake moustache and tea towel on our head…or is that just me?)
Being reminded of this central moment in history every year is great and provides a massive opportunity for the message of good news to reach those who would rather walk on hot coals before picking up a bible. At the same time we can get so familiar with hearing it that we get immune to the reality of what we are being told. I find it very easy to slip into a mindset of indifference when I’m reading any part of the bible- “Oh look, Moses is parting a sea in half again. Good for him.”- so it can become even harder to be ‘wowed’ by the Christmas story when we hear it every single year.
So with this in mind let’s focus on one really important part of the story-
Jesus entered earth as a baby. This might seem obvious but think about who Jesus is for a minute. He was there at the beginning of time, the Word of God. He’s the Messiah, the saviour promised to God’s people throughout history. This dude is a big deal. And he came to Earth…as a baby?! If I had the option I would choose to arrive with way more style, perhaps a parachute jump from a blimp with my face on it or something. But Jesus knew better, making the most humble entrance he could, and the most human entrance too. Jesus is God, but in his birth he became fully human at the same time. Right from his birth we see him sharing in our humanity, demonstrating his humility and showing us what it means to be human.
God being made man shows us that he isn’t distant and can relate to our many and varied experiences. He has been there, done it and more. So often I get frustrated and tell God he doesn’t know what it’s like to be human, but I actually think God is desperately saying to us “Guys, you’re forgetting how to BE human.” Just like the nativity we’re so bombarded by stories of suffering, pain and injustice that we simply become numb to the hurt it should bring, even when this is going on right by our doorstep. We fail to be moved by unfairness in our world because we’re just used to it. Christmas gives us time to chill with friends and family, showing love to them by buying presents and pretending to like the rubbish ones you get, but to be human means that we need to reach out to those in need, to act justly and love mercy as God commands us.
Jesus shows us that we have a higher calling as his followers. His desire is that we would be heartbroken for the last, the least and the lost, that we would learn to love people as he does. He sets an example of how to be fully human, to get angry about injustice and desperate to see those in need set free from poverty.
This Christmas let’s reflect on the wonder of Jesus arriving as a genuine, fully feeling human being and ask that he would soften our hearts that we would see brokenness and respond to the call for mercy.
Soul61 intern for Soul Action