i’ve been told that because my body is currently dealing with a large shift in hormones that i can just expect to cry randomly or over things that on a “normal” day would not provoke emotion. i’m not sure if i can attribute my most recent tears to this hormonal imbalance or not. it came on sunday, while singing in church. it began “the splendor of a king, clothed in majesty…”
let me back up. i knew that having a baby so close to the time we celebrated the birth of the Savior would provoke some thought. while several have been passing wonderings, sunday’s episode made me really think about the idea of the incarnation. it’s crazy to think that a King, in all his splendor, “clothed in majesty”, came to the earth and took the form not only of a human, but as an infant. thanks to recent events, it struck me just how dependent baby Jesus was on those very people who he had come to save. the most powerful being became completely powerless. in his human form, he could not do a thing to help himself – he needed changing, fed, shelter. and i ask, why would God do that? why would he entrust himself to [us]?
as i talked some of this through with jj, my guess is that He was showing us what a different kind of god He really is…. we know that in the culture he stepped into, gods were a dime a dozen – there were different gods to fit your every need. rob bell has said in his “the gods aren’t angry” that one of the biggest messages we can get from God is how He is different than the other gods (watch the dvd for great examples, specifically the sacrifice of Isaac). and so what a way to show it – that this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is not a god of “over there” or “up there” or seperate – even though he maintains those attributes in a sense of his holiness – but He’s also a God of closeness. emmanuel. God with us.
i’m sure this isn’t revolutionary to most people. we’ve grown up going to christmas eve services celebrating God’s coming, emaa-aaa-aaan-u-el (*sing songy voice), but to us that’s what God does. He comes as Jesus. But back then… God coming to earth… not as common. now, i’m sure there are some gods or goddesses in roman or greek mythology who do follow a similar pattern (most of the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled also have a greek / roman counterpart, or someone who supposedly did a similar deed – though none proclaim to fulfill them all. and i’m not sure whose existance was known first. we are waaaaaay outside my domain).
i just can’t get over mary wiping jesus’ butt. or jesus peeing on joseph because he was too slow to cover the wee wee. or mary crying because nursing just wasn’t going as smoothly as she had hoped, and she thinks to herself, “will he always treat his mother this way?!” as he chomps and screams. i cannot get over the fact that God would choose to leave heaven – that place that so many of us celebrate as an ultimate destination – to come to earth, let alone as one who needs such constant care and attention. and then, after 33 years of it, also allows those people who he came to rescue to lead him to his death. why would he do that?
God as an infant. it’s a crazy idea. but it worked.