As children of God, we know we’re called to imitate God and join him in doing the kind of work he is doing. Jesus came to this earth to show us the Father, to reveal to us God’s will and God’s ways. We look to Jesus to know how to think and act, how to believe and behave. We know how to do this – in theory anyway. We do it all the time.
We look at Jesus’ life and we say, “Yeah, we need to serve others. We need to feed the hungry and heal the sick and comfort the suffering.”
We study Jesus’ death and we decide, “Yes, we need to be sacrificial. We need to bear the burdens of those around us. We need to forgive others unconditionally.”
We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and we say, “Yes, we, too, are living a brand new life in Christ. Everything’s changed now. We see the whole world differently now and we leave our sins behind and take bold risks for the Kingdom because we know we’ll never die.”
You know, the birth of Jesus also reveals God to us. We know much more about the will and the ways of our Father when we consider carefully the birth of his Son. The Incarnation of our Lord Jesus shows us what God is doing and how he’s doing it. And it teaches us, it trains us, to join him in that work.
Mary’s song in Luke 1 tells us that the birth of Jesus is radical. Her Christmas song is a song about revolution. The coming of the Christ is about wrecking the structures and systems of this world and restoring an all-new Kingdom of God.
Her song claims that Jesus’ birth scatters the proud, brings down rulers, lifts up the humble, feeds the hungry, and heals the sick. When Almighty God comes to us as a baby in a barn, he is overthrowing the world’s order and society’s hierarchies and chains of command. He’s destroying the gap between the rich and the poor and breaking down all the barriers between us.
Jesus is born in Bethlehem to show us that we all belong to the same family. We’re all equally lacking and equally blessed. Together. Look at the manger scene in the Gospels. Young and old, rich and poor, male and female, blue collar shepherds and professional scholars, Jews and Gentiles – when Jesus is born, everybody’s in the picture! The angels announce that the good news of great joy is for all the people! God with us means God with all of us!
So what does this mean for disciples of Jesus right now?
It means we don’t play into the world’s games of dividing people according to gender or race or national politics or who somebody voted for or whatever else divides people today. We don’t get sucked into the name-calling and self-righteous judging of others. That is decidedly un-Christlike behavior. It’s un-Godly.
We concentrate on bringing into the Kingdom the outsiders, the foreigners, the poor, the sick, even our enemies. Enemies of our comfort zones. Enemies of our decency and order. Enemies of our property values. Enemies of our traditions. Why? Because when we were God’s enemies he sent his holy Son to this earth as a human baby in order to save us.
God with us means us with God. And that means we don’t strive for anything less.