The Sandal of Christmas!

Baby Jesus, lying in a manger. Swaddling cloth. Animals. We know it. We can recite it from memory, even those who are not ardent believers.

But Christmas is scandalous in the highest degree.

The Creator of the universe became one of the creatures. Where does the One who holds all things together choose to be born? In an animal living space, feces and all. Who was there? No one important.

That is the mind-blowing part to me. No one important is at the Savior's birth. There is a man who works with his hands as a simple carpenter. Smelly, bottom-of-the-working-class shepherds living in fields came at the behest of angels. The wise men (immigrants) didn't show up until a while later. And, finally, there was young woman, pregnant out of wed-lock.

No one important attended the most important event the universe had ever seen. No kings. No philosophers. No beautiful people. No businesses. No one! Christmas belongs to the no-ones.

At the news that Mary is to bring forth the savior of the world, she sings the Magnificat, which is a beautiful song that reflects how Jesus' coming effects nobodies:

‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

Scattering the proud, bringing down the powerful and sending the rich away hungry. There is a change in the way the world operates. A new economy is revealed; God's economy. In Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection we see what God values. We see what is important to God. And what do we see: the first shall be last and the last first. Those who are humble will be exalted. Those who are are hungry, persecuted, mourning, poor are blessed.

This is NOT because God loves those who suffer, but because God loves to save those who are hurting. God is in the business of making everything right, bringing down all injustice and destroying every evil. John the Baptist announces Jesus this way:

"‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
   and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
   and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Does your Jesus topple the mountains of power and injustice? Does he fill in the valley of mourning, death and depression?

May we follow a Christ who truly brings Peace on Earth and goodwill to all people!


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