Weakness does not make the list as a Divine attribute. In the pantheon of gods, old and new, humans long for a god writ large and powerful. When we fail to find a god that fits our billing we become the god for which we look. We stop searching. On the other hand when a god so powerful is found that fits our billing, we shun weakness. Because, weakness does not make the list as a Divine attribute. Until, that is, in the Christian narrative we take up wrestling with the Incarnation.
I ran across this quote this morning while thinking about gathering with our church for the Third Sunday of Advent.
The Christmas story tells us that God chose the way of descent and emptied himself of his divine prerogatives in order to indwell our nothingness, our darkness. Mary’s womb, barren, lacking Joseph’s potency, becomes home for the naked God. Christmas is thus the story of the God who is conceived in barren space, who is born in the unwelcome place of an empty manger.
Christmas is not just the message of light breaking into darkness but a humiliating fact: foolishness to the “wise” and a stumbling block to the “righteous.” The God who saves is beggarly; he exists in weakness and comes to those who reach up to him with empty hands. Such a God is an embarrassment, not just to the Herods of this world, but to all who are enamored with themselves and with their own achievements.
If we’re honest, we don’t want this God. We prefer the glorious deity of splendor who dazzles our eyes but also blinds us from seeing our lives for what they are. We don’t want the bloody babe who later is condemned to die, defamed and disfigured, for the reason that we don’t want to come to terms with the stable of our own existence. We have an inn to offer, decorated for Christmas, not a stinking stall. We have cathedrals to worship in, not barns.
And so, we too easily let Christmas move on by. In so doing, we fail to experience how God in Christ wants to enter time and space today. We miss the power that turns our worlds upside down and inside out, where “valleys are made high, and mountains are laid low.” We rob ourselves of God’s gift!
Source:When the Time Was Fulfilled