Thankfully, because we live in rural Texas, we don’t have many roadside billboards. I usually catch up on my billboard reading when we go to Austin once a month to grocery shop or when we’re on a road trip, like we’re on today! Have you see the black and white billboard that says:
Don’t make me come down there. ~ God
Well, that’s exactly what God does on Christmas. The theological term is Incarnation, God becoming flesh. God breaks into our human history in the form of a vulnerable baby. And God makes quite a statement by choosing a poor teenage mother who gives birth in a filthy animal stall.
Not only is Mary poor, she’s homeless and belongs to a people oppressed by the imperial power of her occupied country (an interesting historical and political context given current events). It’s king, Herod, is so threatened by the birth of this baby that he orders all the male children under two years old murdered in an attempt to also destroy this baby whom wise men from the East were seeking.
The Incarnation sets Christianity apart from other faith traditions. God becoming like us to show us what it truly means to be human. God becoming like us to bring us back to God.
This baby’s birth was foretold by the prophets. His purpose written in the holy books. Yet where was the line to see this baby? There might not have been anyone had the shepherds not heeded the angels’ message and gone to check out if what they said was true (Luke 2:1-20).
Our Western culture brings out every trite message possible during Christmas. Some are on bumper stickers, so we get to be reminded of them throughout the year. Keep Christ in Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season.
I want to ask: But what about the Incarnation? What about the rest of the year? Are you dragging out Jesus with the Christmas decorations, placing him on display in your yard nativity scene, and packing him up again by New Year’s? Are you even in line?!?
There were lots of people who got in line thirty years later when Jesus started his ministry. Some stayed. Some left because it was too controversial. Some completely dismissed him because of his audience who were forming long lines: the poor, the invisible, the sick, the outcasts. (I wonder if there’s a correlation between the diminishing numbers of professing Christians in the west and the rising numbers in Africa, China, and Russia?)
But on that lone night, after Mary finished giving birth and was resting, the field hands were the first in line to see Jesus. The wise men from the East were on their way. All of these centuries later we still tell the Christmas story and the question still is where’s the line to see Jesus?
Christmas bonus: One of my Dad’s NASA friends sent him the link to this Becky Kelley song. It’s where I got the title for this blog. Blessings to you for a Merry Christmas!