God could have come with battle lines drawn,
an army of trumpeting archangels,
and a legion of patriarchs.
But God came in vulnerability,
a baby without a home . . .
–from “The Arrival” by Ann Siddall
Why did God choose to come this way–so helpless, needy and vulnerable? For centuries Israel had been waiting for the Messiah to rescue them from exile and oppression. But, when God finally arrives, he’s powerless.
This is not the God I want. I want a big God who will end injustice and suffering, particularly in the lives of the people I love.
Yet, this little God is what we got.
When I wonder why God cried and needed to be changed, nursed and comforted, it finally dawns on me: God wants to be held. Perhaps, this was what the Trinity had been waiting for.
If God is not rescuing us in the way we’d hoped, it has to be because God With Us is doing something better. The nativity story tells me that having God with us in exile and oppression is better than being rescued from it.
I can picture the joy and exhilaration my friends would experience if they were delivered from their suffering. Jesus’ relationship with Mary must have been more wonderful than that.
Once, when Jesus was preaching, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed the womb that carried you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Jesus replied, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!”
That’s us Jesus is talking about! We too can experience an intimacy with God even more blessed than what Jesus shared with Mary.
Imagine being so content with loving God and being loved by God that we forget about ourselves and just love one another. Perhaps that’s how those Messianic prophesies are being fulfilled. Perhaps that’s how God’s kingdom comes.
Dear Lord, as I come to you today,
fill my heart and my whole being
with the wonder of your presence.
–from Sacred Space
Some Advent Love Mischief:
- The story of advent does not tell us God rescues us from problems. It tells us God is with us in our problems. Is it good enough for God to be with you in the midst of your life’s circumstances? How do you feel about this?
- Can you imagine God present with you now in whatever circumstance you are presently living? What feelings emerge as you consider that being with you is what God desires most of all?
- God wants to be held. How can we hold baby Jesus? With our imaginations. In a prayer that Ignatius of Loyola called Contemplation of Place, we can imagine ourselves in any gospel story. Picture the nativity and enter the stable. Take in the sights, smells, sounds and textures. Do you see Mary and Joseph? Do you see Jesus? Do they see you? What happens next?
Hi Esther I’m experiencing this being held and holding. I’ve been amazed at how alive and personal Jesus is in the gospels. The God we have is sometimes frustrating when I try to figure Him out from my troubles. But my troubles become less important when I lay them down by accepting that I’m held. Holding comes easy some days and other days you have to be really determined then the Lord cuddles up a little closer.
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Geof, thank you for sharing this. So beautiful to hear.