12.13.2015

jesus in a headlock

We're in the last two Sundays of Advent now, and the 2-3 year-olds sang songs for us at the church gathering today! It was adorable: little kids dressed up like sheep, donkeys, cows, and even a little Mary. As they began to sing, the child helpers quickly brought on a manger with a plastic baby-doll Jesus inside. The perfect nativity scene was set.

But as the music started and all the kids started to sing, the picture-perfect scene quickly changed. One little girl, dressed with a cotton-ball sheep hat, came up to the manger, peered inside, and reached in her hands. The entire congregation watched open-mouthed as the 2 year-old pulled the baby out of the crib and cradled it all by herself. But before long, her rocking cradle turned into a distracted, one-handed cradle, which turned into a possessive headlock under the crook of her arm and shoulder. It was so... oblivious, irreverent, and unnatural in relation to the peaceful, "Silent Night" nativity we always expect. But something about it was even more poignant and true than perfect manger scene.

Jesus became a baby. Vulnerable. Real. Harm-able. Luke, the pastor who taught today, even pointed out that the baby who encapsulated God himself could be poked and prodded, held by shepherds, cradled in a barn. "God got uncomfortable for us," he said.

That "Silent Night" was probably not silent; I think we can be 99.9% sure that Jesus cried upon birth like any healthy newborn should. Babies cry because they are uncomfortable, in need, maybe in pain or bewildered. How incredible is it that God would allow himself to feel those emotions in order to be with us.

God didn't stick himself inside a human body, somehow hiding inside the flesh. No. Jesus was human. Everything about him was to show us what we as humans can, and should, be like: fully living, fully in tune with the Father, fully obedient, fully love.

I don't have any huge, profound thought tonight. I've simply been struck again by the simple, crucial, beautiful truth that God became man, God became vulnerable, God humbled Himself for me.

Gloria!

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