Christmas Risk

December 27, 2021 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


File:The Manger (Unsplash).jpg
Credit: Wikimedia

The celebration of Christmas is not just a time for trees, toys, traditions, and treats; it’s also meant to be a time of reflection. If what Scripture says happened at Christmas actually happened at Christmas, it changes everything – beginning with us. I like the way Frederick Buechner describes the holiday in his book The Hungering Dark:

For the moment of Christmas…those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of Him again. Once they have seen Him in a stable, they can never be sure where He will appear or to what lengths He will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation He will descend in His wild pursuit of man. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too. And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from His power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where He seems most helpless that He is most strong, and just where we least expect Him that He comes most fully.

These words remind me of the Psalmist’s:

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. (Psalm 139:7-8)

At Christmas, God shows up in a place and way that history and humanity least expected – which means none of us are safe from God showing up to and for us. This may sound almost like a threat – and for those who wish to hide from God it certainly is – but it is also a precious blessing, as Buechner explains:

For those who believe in God, it means, this birth, that God Himself is never safe from us.

Yes, we may never be safe from God, but God is also not safe from us. Indeed, He is so not safe from us that He is even willing to die by us as we turn against Him and crucify Him.

That’s amazing love – found in the ridiculous risk, the infinite uncertainty, and the utter vulnerability of a manger. And that’s worth celebrating, reflecting on, and, most importantly, believing in.

Entry filed under: Devotional Thoughts. Tags: , , , , , .

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