A gift like no other

What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like?

And would you want to see

If seeing meant that

you would have to believe

in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints

and all the prophets

(*) ©Eric Bazilian, Joan Osborne

I often find myself humming all of the answers to this song at the most unusual times, especially Christmas.

“And the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1, 14). God was not one of us, but chose to be one of us and that is the whole point of Christmas. God chose to live the same wonderful, awful, perplexing, vexing and exhilarating life that we live, good, bad and ugly of it all.

Christmas is the feast, the Holy Day, on which Christians celebrate the fact that God decided to become one of us so that he could save us. It changed everything. It means that when God decided to save humanity, he experienced all that humanity had to offer, especially in its claims on power. The contrast couldn’t be more stark between humanity’s claims on power and God’s entrance into humanity.

Humanity does a dance and slams down a ball with force when we simply score a touchdown. God, on the other hand, enters the world like a slob in a manger. We puff our chest and show off our bling. God, on the other hand, enters the world penniless and poor. When we want to show our power, we destroy (Hiroshima, Auschwitz, a military fleet or flying airplanes into buildings…). God, on the other hand, comes as a baby, dependent upon the faithfulness of his own creation. When we think of power, we think of dominance. When God came in power, he was a servant, healer, Savior.

That baby, so long ago, named “Jesus”, changed everything about being human.

Although creation was a time when God gave meaning to physical existence, it is at Christmas that he gave the physical a spiritual transformation. The human, able to live a disciplined holy life because our bodies can be transformed through baptism, has both an eternal and a physical meaning to his/her body because on Christmas, God became one of us. “just a slob like one of us…”

When he became one of us, he walked our walk. He talked our talk. He lived our life. He died our death—at the hands of all the claims of human power. The religious conspired against him. The government condemned him. The people abandoned him. We all killed him. Yet, he prevailed by transforming the human body through his resurrection.

No body, no resurrection. No Christmas, no Easter.

The face of God, we Christians claim, is Jesus. How is this possible? It is possible because God chose to defy the laws of physics, enter the world and save us from our sins by exchanging our humanity for his saving divinity.

So, there it is. The gift of Christmas is to be humble. The gift at Christmas is to be powerless. The gift at Christmas is to take on the limits, suffering and pain of others. The gift at Christmas is to become our brother’s keeper. The gift at Christmas cannot be found at a mall. The gift at Christmas is found among the sloppy, forgotten and lonely. The gift at Christmas is found in service to each other out of selfless love even to the point of sacrifice.

So Merry Christmas, one and all.

By Mark Kurowski