Grace and Peace to you.
The story of the Nativity of Christ is not just a lovely, starlit moment of precious magic and calm adoration. It’s the story of God’s subversion of the world, through no power at all except love. Read the stories (one in Matthew, one in Luke) without romanticizing and you see a story of God’s vulnerable presence amidst poverty, oppression and danger. The manger is not a cute image. It’s about a family that is homeless, at risk, and coping. The magi work knowingly around political and military repression. The family escapes death squads and becomes refugees. And where is God in all this? In a baby.
This is the story of God’s incursion into our power structures, to transform them from the inside out with nothing but radical presence and compassion. God does not act as a king or a warrior, but comes as a vulnerable, powerless child, who makes rough shepherds tender, who draws kings to worship on their knees, who threatens Herod and reorganizes society. God does not impose laws for us to follow: God gives us love to fall into.
The festival of the Nativity of Christ is the celebration of God’s radical presence with us, among us and within us, with nothing but love. God changes the rough world into a world of gentleness, from among the vulnerable and marginalized. It’s an inside job. And God enlists us to join the movement. God invites us to live in the world with this spirit of presence and compassion, to be gentle in a rough world, to be loving when it is a risk, to exercise the power of powerlessness, to trust grace. God extends this invitation by coming into the rough and lowly places in our own hearts, and living there with healing power, with nothing but love.
This Christmas may you be more deeply inspired to embody God’s love and emboldened to bear it into this sometimes dark and rough world. May God’s Word become flesh. May Christ be born in you this holy season, and throughout the new year.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes