“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Genesis 2:17
A well-loved Danish Christmas carol starts like this: “My heart always lingers in the room where Jesus was born.” The advent season is a wonderful season to really take the time to discover what this actually means. To be taken back to the nativity scene as we sit in the stable or guest room or whatever it was, just sit quietly and observe the scene of Mary sitting with her new-born baby. Looking at Him with a mother’s loving eyes and all-enveloping attention. A completely human, physical baby. There’s nothing so vulnerable in the whole world. And at the same time this little baby is the Son of God, our Savior; Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace! We savor the miracle as we watch. And it teaches us, among others, these two lessons: (1) Jesus always made Himself vulnerable. That’s how He met people; in vulnerability; never condescendingly, despite the fact that He is so exalted. He came to the world as a defenseless baby. He met the woman at the well with a need: he was thirsty and in need of water from her. He visited people in their homes and received what they offered him to eat and drink. He allowed Himself to suffer and be hung on a cross. He always loved all the way, no matter the cost. We too can learn something from His way of meeting people. It is important to meet others where they are, on equal terms, and to receive as well as to give. That creates a relationship of mutual trust and respect. And it is so important to dare be vulnerable and let down our defenses, because that’s the only way we can really let other people in. (2) In our baptism we also become, before God, like a little baby. We surrender completely; we are in His arms and He carries us and we let Him carry us in total confidence! And He looks at us the way a mother looks at her new-born child. And we realize that He loves the weak as well as the strong, the sick as well as the healthy; even us. That’s why we can surrender to Him, fearlessly and unconditionally. Because of this, we, like Mary, can say: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be to me as You have said.” We are not afraid to put our lives in God’s hands and to rest in Him because we know we can trust Him completely. One of the greatest ways He has shown His love for us is by coming to us in our own form. May our hearts this Christmas especially linger in that room where God first came down to Earth and the divine took on human form, bringing light to the darkness and warmth to the cold. May we always live in light of that miracle and let us dwell on it enough this Christmas time that we may remember it the rest of the year as well.