Monday, December 6

Advent 2010

When God Gets Down to Earth


During Advent and that day we designate "Christmas" there is a real air of unreality about the way we spend our time.  Everyone goes a bit crazy with lights and decorations popping out in the most unlikely of places. And we even hope that the weather will cooperate with a touch of snow and ice.  It really appears that we are trying to find an escape from the sometimes ugly realities of life for a while.

I am not being critical or cynical, for I love the fuss and fun of the season as much as anyone.  What bothers me a bit is that the air of unreality that surrounds the season may completely obscure the reality of what it is all about.  For if the season means anything, it means that God touched human life in a real historical way.  In reality, the season is God getting down to earth to meet us in the harsh realities of common days - God making himself known in the tangible flesh and blood of a baby in a manger.  The very unreality of our celebration can obscure the idea of God present in the ordinary stuff of life.

I doubt that even our use of the word "god" suggests something as ordinary as a little baby.  This season, stripped of its tinsel, means nothing more or less than that God (with all the mystery of that word involved) stripped himself of majesty and power and presented himself to the incredible eyes of human beings as a little child who would grow up and become the very incarnation of concern for ordinary people and their problems.  This is the heart of Advent season - that God has the common touch.  He is found in a Jewish peasant child lying in a feeding trough in a stable.

This is not a fairytale.  It is the most shattering reality that humans have ever known.  God got "down to earth" to mingle with common ordinary horses and cows in an ordinary dusty and dirty stable.  He later spent his young life mingling with common people. The major truth of this season says that "here is God, getting just about as down to earth as God can get."

The story of Advent is beautiful and incredible.  And maybe it should make us all act a bit crazy.  But let us never forget the gritty truth of God coming down to meet us where we live and obviously need him the most - in the ordinary, humdrum dust and dirt of life's common days where Caesar taxes and Cyrenius is Governor of Syria.

- George Shriver



Dear God, thank you for being there for us.  Help us all to know that you are always with us and you will always be there for us.  Help us to realize that you have a plan for us.  Let that thought comfort us so that no one will ever feel alone or be afraid.  Amen.

- Will Sutton


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