What do we do with this baby born today? Do we celebrate his birth as we celebrate any other birth and rejoice in the safe arrival of another child? Do we use this day to remember a story from so long ago it’s seems little more than a fairy tale to be enjoyed without needing to find anything else there? Do we use this birth as an excuse for consumer excess, the saviour of struggling corporate bottom lines and the over consumption of food, alcohol and gimmickry?
What do we do with this baby born today?
It depends upon whom we see in the story.
If we simply see the boy Jesus, just another human child, we run the risk of making an idol out of a normal person, exalting Jesus to a place in our world he, as a middle eastern, child had no desire to occupy. Idolatry has no place in our lives and particular no place in our Christian faith.
This child is special.
In the letter to the Hebrews we read:
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.
There is something else happening in this story, something very important we often miss. The child born this day is the very self-expression of God, not just a reflection or image but the creative essence of God let loose in the world. Here is the one on whom the world depends for its very existence and on whom we depend for our own self-expression. Here is the one sitting at the centre of all creation. Every single element and being evolved and evolving has at its very centre the creative urge for more, for life and for wholeness empowered by relationship and love.
Here is the One who empowers us and who we are empowered to become. In this material world God spoke a word in human form as a dependent child on whom we all depend. Humanity does not stand-alone. Trees, birds’ animals and fishes are not independent beings any more than we are. We are interdependently connected to each other in the ever-expanding universe because of the Word spoken into the world this day.
Jesus is the beginning and the end of our very existence. As the Christ he sits at the centre of all creation and is the goal of evolution – we are moving through relationship toward wholeness empowered by love. We need each other just as we need love in relationship to become united in our diversity.
What do we then do with this child born today?
We are to live out our oneness with each other and the natural world we live in, sharing the creative spark, the creative Word God spoke in the beginning and re-spoke this day some 2000+ years ago. We are to recognise our dependence on each other as we continue to evolve and move toward the wholeness that is the Christ, the Word spoken today.
Diverse and particular, self aware and independent we may be, but that is not all we are. We need each other and we need to begin to live as if this is the case. We can no longer demonise, destroy, punish or persecute others or the natural world as if they and it are objects to be used for our benefit. Sharing the essence of God in our very being with them, the violence we do to them is violence done to ourselves. And we pay the price in a segregated and fearful world.
It seems when ever you turn on the television or your social media feed there is violence repeated over and over again. It is time we took back our world and began to live out our interconnectedness and dependence on one another; the coming of the Word of God spoken into a violent world asks us to step up and to live in a relationship respect, justice and love. Our wholeness spiritually, psychologically and physically depends upon it.
What do we do with the baby born today?
We strive to live out the gift of creative wholeness with our partners, our children and our extended families; with those whom we share our neighbourhoods, train trips and offices with; with those who do not look like us, believe like us, live like us; with those who are afraid, lonely, lost and on the edge of our society; that’s what we do.
Our task is to join with every other human being and creature alive on this planet to strive for the goal of wholeness as expressed in the Creative Word of God born this day. We are to avoid being possessed by the need for things and others as possessions; to avoid the rush for self-fulfilment at the cost of the well being of others, and to avoid turning the baby born today into an idol of all that is wrong with our world.
Today we sit with this baby and begin to imagine the possibilities if we could just let him into our lives and stoke the spark already there into a burning for wholeness.