We try. Our words fall short. Language, any language is insufficient. We try to describe the indescribable, to depict the unimaginable. Because we believe that the unknowable God desires to know us, to love us, to be in a relationship with us. God has given us some clues, some signposts to help us understand who God is and who God isn’t. In this life, we can’t know God completely, but we know enough about who God Is(n’t) to grow, to learn and to love.
Relegating God to an idea or a spiritual concept doesn’t do us much good. God in the abstract can at times seem attractive. We can keep our distance. Think about God when it’s convenient or interesting. But when things get tough, when life gets challenging, ideas don’t do us much good. We need someone who shows up, who renews relationships. We need someone who stirs things up. We need someone whose love knows no limits. We need Jesus.
The journey is long. There are going to be some tough climbs, some deep descents. There’s no telling what’s in store around the next bend. You’re gonna want some sturdy shoes. They’re critical partners along this path. Essential support that help you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. They help you move beyond the familiar. They help you stand with confidence, grounded in your new identity. A good pair of shoes can help you weather the storms as you follow your call. Lace up. We’re on the move.
You’re it. You’re the only one left who knows, who has heard, who has been drawn into a remarkable story. You. In Mark’s gospel there’s an empty tomb, the women don’t know the resurrected Jesus never makes an appearance. It’s just you. How are you going to live when you know that life not death wins, when the story is still unfolding and you’re a part of it. What will be different, now that you know, it’s down to you?
“Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
The self-centered disciples ask who will be the greatest, what’s in it for them. The fickle crowds are amazed by the miraculous, but wonder when Jesus’ words become challenging. Are we any different? We say we are willing to follow Jesus, but how far are we willing to go? Will we give our money, our time, our lives? We think we want to follow, but…to what end?
It’s an unexpected move. Becoming human. Sure, many different cultures have stories about the divine masquerading around as human. But something different is afoot with this Jesus character. Very quickly we get the sense that he’s quite serious about changing things, mixing things up. God shows us, with Jesus, an uncanny depth of commitment to this relationship. God is all in. Are you?
You’re getting the goods, for Christmas that is. Seriously, it’s going to be a haul. So don’t be apologetic about it. Own it. Claim it. It’s yours. Not that you particularly deserve it, not that any of us particularly deserve it. Still this year, for Christmas, you’re getting the power and presence of God. You’re getting a new way of ordering life in this world. You’re getting a promise that sustains you for this life and the one to come. You’re getting God in flesh. So get ready, Christmas is coming.