At Christmas, we celebrate the Incarnation – God becoming man. Our faith teaches that God the Son becomes man to bring salvation to humankind and show us the way to the Father through His ministry, death, and resurrection. It starts in the manger in Bethlehem.
Of all the ways that God could have willed to bring salvation to mankind, He chose this one: to send his Son to earth … as a human … as a baby. The work of salvation begins with a baby.
Surely, there is something, some lesson or message, that God is telling us by having things begin – of all possible ways – with a baby.
So, let’s talk about babies. If there’s one word that defines babies it’s “dependent.” They cry when they are hungry – because they can’t feed themselves. They cry when they are in pain – because they can’t soothe themselves. They cry when they need to be changed – because they can’t clean themselves. They cry when they need attention – because they can’t give love to themselves. And so on, and so on.
They really do need us for nourishment, for cleaning, for love – indeed, for their mere existence. Harsh as it is to even consider: left on their own, surely babies could not survive.
At Christmas, we celebrate that the work of salvation begins with such an utterly dependent being. Of all the ways that God could have come to earth to bring salvation, He chose a way that made Him utterly dependent on those who loved Him just to keep Him alive.
So too, I think we can say that Jesus’ work of salvation is, in a way, dependent on us whom He has called in faith to love Him. It is dependent on our response to the call of God’s grace in our work and our witness. It cannot be kept alive without us who bear the name ‘Christian’.
And just what is this work of salvation – this work that is dependent on us to be kept alive? Is it not, as Jesus says, “to testify to the truth?” (John 18:37) Is it not “to bring glad tidings to the poor … to proclaim liberty to captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, … to let the oppressed go free?” (Luke 4:18-19; referencing Is 61:1) Is it not to do what it takes so that all “may have life, and have it abundantly?” (John 10:10)
Indeed, this is the work of justice in love and truth that we learned about, prayed about, and promised to take back to our communities at Be the Light this summer.
This Christmas, dear friends, I hope you contemplate the cradle and see a challenge. See the Child Jesus and come and adore Him, yes – but notice He must be kept warm, be fed, be lulled to sleep, and be guarded well from any Herod who would seek to destroy Him. Do that for the baby Jesus. And remember well what Jesus Himself said: “… whatever you did for one of these
least brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Mat 25:41)
A blessed Christmas to you all from all of us at Be the Light.