I’m going to go on a long, wordy, run-on-sentence kind of rant, because I can’t not… I just think we don’t consider the endless implications of the Christmas event nearly enough.
Most people of all faiths have a fondness for Jesus of Nazareth, born 2000ish years ago. I’m not sure we really get all that he represents though… Jesus is a legit gift to ALL of humanity (“peace on earth,” as the angel is said to have proclaimed), but he is a universal blessing precisely because he is also an equal opportunity offender.
Jesus came in confrontation to everything we had backwards, and he continues to come with the same modus operandi. Wherever there is self-righteous religiosity, wherever there are systems of shame and control, wherever performance-orientation and an imposter syndrome is encouraged, wherever formulaic legalism and moralism reign, wherever egotism and unhealthy competition abounds, wherever retributive justice is “just the way things are” — he comes to graciously and persistently subvert the established order. Time and time again, he moves in perpetual defiance and brings holy disruption any and everywhere it’s needed.
As Isaiah prophesied, “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.” All on the playing field are left equally humbled and dignified as Jesus insists on making the counter-intuitive will of God enfleshed in our midst.
There is no holy book, no message, no prophet, no philosophy, no code of ethics, no dogma, no avatar, no system of government, no personal idol in the human heart that carries or manifests perfected Love quite like this incarnation of the Divine. No one who literally and metaphorically overcame the systems, ideologies, patterns, social structures, spirits and sin of our collective community quite like he did (and like he continually does). The more we search out his story, his accomplishment and his ongoing active Presence in our lives — the more we discover new layers and depths of moving beauty and redemption at every turn.
God’s most profound logic is revealed in this one mythic but historical Man. As John the Beloved wrote, “The Word became human flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory — glory as of the only begotten from the Father, FULLY embodying grace-truth….”
Christ’s light shines into darkness wherever it is found, and darkness can only retreat before him. If we have eyes to see it and the wisdom to participate in his plans, we’ll recognize there is literally no one his coming is not good news for. He is the hope of the nations.
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