Our Christian Christmas story talks about a young woman, Mary, probably a teenager, pregnant before marriage. The culture and religious beliefs of the time offered only judgment. “She is guilty. Cast her aside. Have her stoned.” And yet, Joseph loves her. God intervenes, and they are married. The emperor’s decree orders Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Homeless, they find shelter in a stable and Jesus is born. This wee babe, vulnerable, fragile, needing our care, comes into the world. Christians believe this child, so full of potential, came as God to live among us.
How will Jesus enter my world this Christmas? All three of my children and their families will gather around the table in our beautiful middle class home. Will Jesus be there?
Maybe Jesus will come in Vanessa, our beloved 26-year-old granddaughter, as each one of us takes special care to ensure nothing is done to increase her anxiety. Even though her mind cannot comprehend all the rules, her cousins will include her in our family games because they love her. I wonder will we experience Jesus in our Vanessa’s vulnerability?
Maybe Jesus will come in the form of my middle son, who easily tells us he’s not a Christian. He’ll remind us of his pain with our society that can treat animals as inanimate products to be exploited.
Factory farms that ignore the blessing of life within animals horrify Dave. Will we see Jesus’ caring in Dave’s commitment to animal rescue?
Maybe Jesus has already come with grandson Chris. We welcomed him home for Christmas almost a month ago. Delight dances in his sister’s eyes every time she greets him. Have we realized that Jesus has come in Chris’ love for all of his family.
Maybe Jesus is a spirit winding itself in and through our blended family. Maybe we’ll greet him on Skype when Tom’s daughter calls and we see and hear our two youngest grandchildren. Will they bring us the laughter and innocence of the Christ child.
I must remember that Jesus is present in the beggar I see at the corner of Water and Parkhill Streets here in Peterborough or the clerk who gives me a smile and a Merry Christmas at the grocery store. He is present in the grief of my beloved friends as he weeps with them over the death of their son. Yes, Jesus will be born all around me this year as he is every year, if only I make room for him.
I suggest you look for Jesus in both the sparkling eyes and the glistening tears this Christmas. He’s there, I guarantee it. Watch, and listen, for Jesus is truly God with us.
Christmas Blessings to you all.