“a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…”
We downsized Christmas a little bit this year in the Blinn house, meaning we bought less stuff. Lessening some of the material trappings made the day more quiet and calm. The kids did not miss out on their early morning magic, however. We mainly scaled down adult gift exchanging. Meghan was sick and didn’t make it for the morning rush. I had a cold and went home after breakfast for some downtime. The Gobers and significant others came over shortly after I returned in the afternoon.
I came home early, still tired from the last few months of busy. It is a deep soul kind of tired, and January will have to be a quiet month, a month for regrouping and calm. I lit the Advent candles and did my readings for Christmas Day. Again and again this time of year the incarnation of Jesus invites deep-seated peace.
It is a striking picture we find ourselves staring at on Christmas Day as we reflect on the newborn Jesus year in and year out. History’s redemption wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger- vulnerable and tiny, loved and loathed- so much hanging on such a tiny little package… It is astounding. And hopeful.
I suppose Jesus could have come and redeemed the world he called good in one fast movement. But he didn’t.
Nine months in the womb produced a tiny baby who needed love and care and attention like any other baby. He learned to walk and talk and sing and play… And as he grew up, living human experience out through and through, he lived a story. Stepping into adulthood meant seeing people and praying for them and healing them. He lived in the context of relationship. The life of Jesus foreshadowed the death of Jesus in the way it was laid down time and again for the other and ultimately for all. The crescendo of the cross and resurrection followed a simple life: hearing God, responding in obedience and then hearing God some more.
That is hopeful because the baby who grew up to die on a cross and be raised from the dead grew up in a way that shows us how to really live. Our stories are imperfect at best and broken beyond recognition at worst. They are, however, irrevocably transformed by the reality of an incarnational God. A God who downsized himself to a little baby, this God reminds us that He came to us looking like our most fragile state. And through the way Jesus lived and died and rose again, we find both a picture of and a way to a simple life fulfilled. We can hear God. We can respond in obedience. And then we can hear God some more. In so doing, the world is transformed; our lives are redeemed.
This makes me hopeful. Merry Christmas. May you know comfort and joy.