December 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
This God we serve became a baby. His love so pounded through the stuck-together cells of human skin, so wanted to identify with the small-eyed, coarse-haired, oily-skinned of us, the ones who can’t get out of this three-meal-a-day, put-on fabric to cover up the weird knobs and folds of our bodies existence. He wanted not just to show us compassion, like a mother trying to comfort a daughter. He wanted to become the daughter. To become the son. To be one of us. He could have just called us higher or transformed a lucky few to be demigods and demigoddesses. Instead, he became a person. Someone who had to wear clothes and ask for help from God. Who had to put up with crass language and inconveniences like long lines in the grocery store and people cutting you off in conversation. He had long days. He had hard confrontational conversations he would have rather not had to have had. But before all that, even, he had a manger. He had the speechlessness of a baby. The limited communication of crying and cooing.
Why? Sometimes I’m still not clear on that topic. I don’t really think it was because it was necessary. It certainly wasn’t the minimum we could get by on. It was the extravagant heart of a lovesick God. There was something irrepressible in his very nature, something that didn’t just push the Son off the cliff of heaven into a war-torn earth. No, I can see him dancing off the clouds, the angels holding their wide-eyed breath. He is going, He is increasing His government, because of a terrible drive inside His Spirit. It’s something we feel a twinge of, I think, when we see the beauty of Christmas lights and Santa reflected in the eyes of a 4-year-old. Or when we take a bite of peppermint cheesecake with oreo crust and wash it down with the silkiest decaf. Or when we put on something beautiful and catch sight of our transformed self in the mirror and resonate – yes, that’s really me. That’s the real me.
That’s the real you.
Did you know? Did you know He came ugly so you could live pretty? Does that sound blasphemous? It does to me. I literally recoil and want to erase the words. I live with a firm grip on my budget, a deer-in-the-headlights approach to life even when there aren’t any headlights for miles around. I research the lowest prices for ingredients for homemade Christmas gifts before an early bedtime on a Friday night then spend my Saturday mornings with the treat of black coffee from a coffee shop surrounded by strangers with screens. Sometimes on Saturdays, little innocent ones toddling by me on their day off from daycare, I feel like the ash tray of the world – the leavings of someone else’s stress-reliever. But then – today, anyway, not always, I remember. Christ the Savior is born. The Savior. And I still need saving. Not just from hell or from sin, but saving. Rescuing. Someone, Someone with real power, caring enough to preserve the me that has gotten so totally obscured by the fake print-outs of people I love but don’t even know. Distant goals I attach so much weight to – run this fast, wear this brand, have this experience, work this hard, live in that neighborhood, marry that man – that, when I hold them, turn out to be so weightless that they do nothing to anchor me down.
It isn’t a weighty anchor I need. It isn’t a mansion or a man or a medal. The directive of my life is (unfortunately) more ethereal and (blessedly) more tactile…so feel-able, in fact, that it makes me squirm. The soft skin of a baby. In the rough scratch of manger straw. That’s my hope.