Christmas – when expectant hope gives way to Incarnate Love
My maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both deceased prior to my birth. It took some years before I understood why grandma and grandpa weren’t married like other kid’s. The whole genepool concept was way beyond my comprehension. With time, education and patience on the part of my parents, it made sense eventually.
Can you imagine the conversation that had to have happened between Joseph, Mary and their son? Obviously, however, Jesus came to understand his own genealogy; that he was God’s son, and that his lineage included being a descendant of Abraham and David. The rest of his life became a fulfillment of the identity he was born with. Like all of us, he could have refused to accept his identity because he had free will, but he didn’t.
This Christmas, as your children or grandchildren are joyfully redecorating the interior of the place where you are celebrating with shreds of gift wrap and systematically dismantling what took talented pools of engineers and machinists months to produce, remember that God’s methods of enacting salvation history have always seemed a bit outlandish, from the initial proclamation by John the Baptist (the Gospel’s Advent-Flower-Child) to the birth of the King of Kings in a stable. Those of us who are not royalty in any sense of the term appreciate the reality of “God-with-us” and not over us.
As Gabriel departed, Mary’s pregnancy began and then ended with the first Christmas. Salvation was born. Holy people, like Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin, the mother of John the Baptist), John, the Magi and the rest of the delightful cast of characters of salvation history have shown us what happens to us who expect God to act in a new way. Hope is a consequence and love a reality.
I hope you have a merry Christmas because it means like our predecessors, you’ve accepted your identity freely and not rejected it. The family line lives on. God’s radiance is shimmering just beneath the surface for those who care to notice, accept and rejoice.