AM Psalm 45, 46;
Isa. 35:1-10; Rev. 22:12-17,21; Luke 1:67-80
Tonight is Christmas Eve, and with it comes one of Christianity’s central pillars – that of God’s incarnation. It is a story of terror and amazement. It is a story that disrupts and challenges expectations, norms, and ultimately the establishment. It is a story that has defies all expectations. But it is also a time of hope and joy.
In Isaiah 35 we see a barren wilderness of Israel’s wanderings burst forth in a desert bloom. The eyes of the blind are opened, the deaf hear, the lame leap, and the burning sand gives way to pools of water. It is a time of hope and redemption – the restoration of the people of Zion.
I hope Christmas Eve can be this for you too. Pause from the craziness of the season to reflect on this simple story of the birth of an infant. Well, on one level it is simple, on another it is an extreme and extraordinary story of God’s grace. Tucked in this small package of an infant is an incredible gift that comes to challenge and upend the establishment – and who defies our expectations about what God can do.
Think about it. This story is shocking. It is almost disturbing. God came to us in the form of a fragile little infant, wetting his pants, dependent on his 13 year old unwed mother for nourishment and care. God could have come as a mighty king, or from a chariot of fire from heaven, or at least from a royal family of husband and wife. But he didn’t. God surprises us by turning the notion of a mighty Savior on its head. His life, his ministry, his death all reflect that, welcoming those whom others had thought God had cast out, redefining family, and forgiving sins.
God comes challenging our visions too – of God and of our worldly expectations. Today I chose a few non-white picture of Mother and Child. I did so as a simple reminder that, no matter what, we all tend to cast God in our own image. It’s only natural. And part of today is that God transcends all that – in fact God challenges that. We follow a God who disrupts and challenges all our expectations.
God doesn’t come made in our image. God comes to redefine our image.
God is not a projection of our psyche who comes to soothe us as we are, but who comes to disrupt patterns and challenge norms. So along with this simple bundle of joy in an infant in the beginning of a grander narrative. So decolonize Christmas with me. May the simple image of a non-white Jesus begin for you the thought that this Christmas may be a time of God redefining you.
So don’t let the meekness and mildness of Christmas fool you. In that tiny manger is another grand vision of God’s love. It is a vision that includes the whole world. It is a vision of radical love – unexpected and unbridled.
In that manger holds the hope of the future, the Prince of Peace, who transcends all our expectations, and brings with him enough grace to draw all these images into one, and all of us together in extraordinary new ways. That is the heart of the incarnation.
A Merry Christmas to all of you!
A very Happy Christmas to you as well, Dr. Matt!!