…..from your Pastor’s Desk:
In a conversation last week at dinner, one man said that with all the commercialization of the day, we are losing the real meaning of Christmas. He asked me if I agreed. I responded by asking the table guests to each say what their particular version of the ‘Real’ meaning of Christmas was. As you might guess the answers were as varied as the number of people. Gift giving, family, making peace, expressing love.
There are many levels of meaning to Christmas, for Christmas can mean many different
things to people. I do believe that a word we have been singing for four weeks now, a name actually, really expresses the deepest meaning of Christmas. In a profound, yet simple way. Emmanuel, which means: God is with us, “The Word became flesh” – that is, God became human, flesh – and – blood, like us, ‘To dwell among us”.
The words are so simple, and so easy to say, we have heard them so many times. And yet, these few words express the deepest meaning of Christmas, the deepest meaning of our whole Christian faith. They are telling us that the infinite, all-knowing, allpowerful,
all- perfect God came into changing human history, came into the flesh and blood condition of a human being. That means that God took on all the limitations, imperfections and deficiencies of being human. God did not stay being God and just play of being human. But rather, God actually became that baby in a manger, completely dependent on his mother for everything; and then that child, as well as the youth of Nazareth, had to struggle as we all did with the uncertainties and hesitancies of growing up. Then, as a mature adult, who even though had a specific mission, like each of us do, He had free will and had to choose among many possibilities and on His own individual life, according to His own circumstances.
That is, God, Jesus, was born, grew up, and lived life just exactly as we all do – not as an infinite, almighty God, but as a flesh and blood human being, really and truly like us all – yet still really and truly God. How can this be? That is the mystery of the Trinity.
Do you see what these words – God became flesh: God is with us – really mean? They mean that our religion must not lead us to seek God someplace outside of this world, like only in heaven, someplace outside of our human history. They mean that the Christian religion, right from the very beginning with the birth of Jesus and Christmas, specifically teaches
the direct opposite – that God came into the world, God is right here, with us, STILL in the world, in daily human life, with all of its good and bad, with all of its ambiguity; that for us this is the place where we can find God. Emanuel – God IS with us!
To me, this is the special, particular message of Christmas; that, like Jesus we must make our way by whom we are, and where we are, and when we are. That is it; that is all; that is the whole story. And that is the kind of understanding to which Christmas calls us in these simple Scripture words; “God became flesh; God is with us”.
God is here. God knows what it is to be like you. God knows you. God loves you. God will
never hurt or abandon you.
I wish you all the best, most blessed Christmas and a peaceful new year!