It has been said that God’s greatest sacrifice is not on the cross but in choosing birth. That the Creator’s love for us was expressed not only in dying - but in being born human.
You know how difficult these bodies can be. After a hard and long day - how gravity just pins you to the couch. How hard it is to get up - and then you bang your shin on the edge of the coffee table, stumble and bump your head on the half open door…
What about the physical experience of those of us who live with pain? Whose bones and joints shout with agony at every movement. Who would choose it?
I’m talking about a toddler struggling to find balance, falling and crashing and crying with frustration at the limits of this flesh. I’m talking about a baby’s empty cry at their helplessness in this cold and messy world of threats.
And yet, so the story goes, the Maker of the universe, the source of creative power that bursts forth galaxies from the void of a black hole, chooses to become as helpless and hopeless as you and I.
The limitless one become confined within flesh and blood. The all knowing mind of god can only express itself from within the limited RAM of the human brain.
And so it is right and good that if such a Maker would devise a way to show us what lengths divine love can go - that the demonstration would not be expansive = but limiting.
The choice to be born to an unwed mother of a conquered people is about god sacrificing “it all” to become just another guy.
Bhudda was a prince but Jesus was a pauper – beaten before he even began by a worthless birthright.
Philippians 2:3-11 (The Message)
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.
When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death
But why? What was the message? Was it simply that God was with us born two thousand years ago? Or, isn’t the message that God’s divinity is born within us all?
Jesus’ mission, in my humble opinion, was to connect us – every one of us – with that divinity. To make clear the path from the core of our being to the limitless beyond – and from the limitless beyond to the core of our being.
Instead of being a door himself, as is popularly thought, he showed us the door in each of our own hearts.
From within the confines of a human body and brain Jesus became a clear and open channel to the divine. The revelation of Jesus is that the Christ light that shone in him is the same light that shines in every child.
And the message of Hope is that no matter how distorted or perverted or tortured the body and brain that holds that light becomes, there is no power on earth that can diminish it.
The power of divine love is born in us all.
The part of me, the part of you, that is touched by awe at the sight, smell, wonder of a newborn baby.
The part of me, the part of you that finds courage in the midst of a situation where we are overwhelmingly helpless.
The part of me, that part of you that is moved to compassion for the suffering of a neighbor, a stranger, and even ourselves…
The part of me, that part of you that gets lifted up, healed, encouraged by the presence of the Holy Spirit (or whatever you want to call it).
The part of me, that part of you that is able to suspend judgment when every bone in our body is calling for condemnation.
The part of me, the part of you that is touched by the underserved forgiveness of someone we’ve harmed.
The part of me, the part of you that finds ourselves offering grace to someone who has intentionally hurt us.
The part of me, that part of you that is creature – that recognizes our home in the midst of nature - the wild and free part of us…
The part of me, that part of you that – when words fail – music touches and provides just what we need to carry on.
I’m talking about the god part of me, that god part of you that the birth of Jesus tells us is a part of every human. That Emmanuel, God is with us, God dwells within, among, and beyond and beneath us all.
That in this sacrificial story there is the truth that the power of the universe’s expanding, eternal, creating love will find a way to express itself in our humble and holy, moment by moment, inspiring-expiring, giving and receiving - no matter what.
Thanks be to God. Thanks be to You.
thanks to Richard Choe for the pics