I meet David Lose every week. Well, somewhat pushed. David Lose connects with me through his written reflections every week. He is one of the most helpful sources to greeting each day with hope. He’s president of a Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. This morning, Friday, December 3, 2016, he wrote such a powerful statement…about how God and we connect. I share it…and believe…that the ONLY WAY God and I…even more, God and you…can connect is not for us to be more holy. Rather, to know there’s NO CONDITION in which we find ourselves that is stranger to God. Not one.
Another source this morning…I’ve mentioned him before as an Every Saturday Morning Preacher in his report to the employees at McCoy’s building materials, Art Johnson…said this: “It’s important in the strongest relationships that my name is safe in your mouth.” Oh my, how powerful. Sure, that’s always a short list. But such a significant verity for each of us. To be safe…our space is safe…with others, but especially with God.
Here’s David Lose—and the reality of why Christmas is so cherished. Not for trumpets or royalty. But, to become one of us—which makes Jesus Christ so valued and embraced. For it’s vulnerability, it’s being human that Jesus helps us become stronger…
“Martin Luther loved Christmas. There are countless stories from students who would stay with the Luther family at their home, a converted monastery that they opened to many visitors and guests. He would grow more and more cheerful as Christmas approached, students reported, and gather his family around to sing Christmas hymns – some of which he composed – by the fire.
Why this great love of Christmas? Because for Luther it represented the inherent logic of God’s activity. Except that “logic” is probably not quite the right word, as everything about Christmas is ill-logical to the world. That almighty God would give up power? That the infinite Lord would become finite and vulnerable? That Christ would divest himself of divinity to take on our mortal flesh? That the king of the universe would be born to a poor and outcast young mother in a stable because no one would make room?
None of this makes sense. Except that it God’s way of showing God’s profound love for us, leaving all things behind in order to appear before us in a form we can receive and accept. God as God is too terrifying for mere mortals to behold, let alone receive, and so God comes to us as one of us: vulnerable, weak, frail, subject to illness and disappointment and rejection, all so that we can perceive that God is with us and for us and will not abandon us, as Luther shares in a Christmas sermon from 1530:
If Christ had arrived with trumpets and lain in a cradle of gold, his birth would have been a splendid affair. But it would not be a comfort to me. He was rather to lie in the lap of a poor maiden and be thought of little significance in the eyes of the world. Now I can come to him. Now he reveals himself to the miserable in order not to give any impression that he arrives with great power, splendor, wisdom, and aristocratic manners.
Hard to believe? Absolutely. Which is why there is Advent – four weeks to get used to the idea that almighty God would do anything to convey to us God’s parental, enduring, and redeeming love. And our weeks to be prepared to be surprised yet again by just how far God will go to reach us. Let the preparations begin!”