Some people talk about God’s power. For them, that’s the most important thing about God. God is all powerful and all knowing and, when you come right down to it, completely overpowering. And being in the presence of God can be overpowering. But, for me, that is not one of the more important things about God. At least, it’s not where my relationship with God starts.
Christmas tells us that God comes to us, not from on high, but from down below. Jesus is born to an unknown woman from a subjugated people. He comes to us as a baby — and there just isn’t all that much needier than a newborn baby. Jesus comes to us from a position of dependence, not authority. In my mind, in Jesus, God comes to invite us, even to court us, not to lord it over us. There is an assumption of equality on God’s part that draws me into a very different relationship than it would to a God who came down from on high to make demands of me.
And that, for me, may be the most important thing there is to know about God. God chooses to approach us by invitation. God chooses to invite us into the beauty of holiness. God chooses to share our condition, the human condition, and experience all the joys and trials and tribulations of our lives.
In doing this, God respects our autonomy. In doing this, God’s love and care for us is demonstrated to us in an unforgettable way. And this is the gift of Christmas. God loves us enough to share our lives with us. God loves us enough to invite us into the love of God in the person of Jesus. And God loves us enough to let us make our own decisions. For me, this is a truly beautiful gift.
I am aware of my shortcomings. And I’m sure God is too. But in Jesus I know that God accepts me, the person I actually am, not some holy guy who never makes mistakes. And God invites me to share my life with him. And God invites me to share in his love through Jesus.
Merry Christmas. May the God of love make his love real in your lives this season of Christmas.