The Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve
Jesus came. Emanuel, God with us, arrived in human flesh to love us right up close.
Mary chose to participate in bringing Jesus to us in the most vulnerable and personal way possible. To become someone’s mother is to permanently love another with one’s whole being. To become God’s mother must be completely impossible to comprehend. Mary treasured the things her son’s visitors said about him in her heart.
Into this violent world, Jesus came. I wonder how old he was when his human brain was able to grasp how he was probably going to die. That might have been a lonely moment, I imagine.
This morning, I was thanking Jesus again for not hiding his vulnerability. I thanked him for letting us see his ‘weakest moment’ when he cried out in desperation. I got a surprise in response to my thank you.
I sensed a question, Was it weak?
Initially, I thought, maybe this is just me trying to look at it from every angle. But I immediately sensed a,
No, what if it wasn’t weak?
I stopped. Waited.
If it’s true that Jesus knew, or would have predicted that his prayer of, please don’t make me do this, wouldn’t be answered, what does that say about his attitude toward God in that moment?
Would a confident son or daughter cry out or cower? Would a child confident in the love of their parent feel comfortable verbalizing their desperation or stuff it down? I suddenly realized that I had been imposing my judgement of my own moments of desperation onto Jesus. I judge me as lacking in faith and see Jesus crying out as similar (all the while knowing he was without sin, so I should have known I was wrong!).
But an insecure child can’t ask. Can’t show their true feelings. And won’t -- especially when they would predict that they won’t get what they are asking for. A secure child – confident in the overarching love of the parent no matter the answer to the request can ask, shamelessly.
Jesus didn’t reveal weakness in the Garden. He revealed LOVE. Confident, secure, fearless love.
The secure child can say, You aren’t likely to do this, but I am going to tell you what I want anyway. Because you love me, and I am held in the reality of your embrace more than these feelings of utter dread.
I long to be like Jesus.
As we welcome the baby Jesus, I breathe deeply the reality that I am held infinitely more than the most recent utter dread I felt and the next utter dread that will grip me. I am held in infinite love only glimpsed in the stars of the night sky, the beauty of our vast oceans and the soft moss in our most fragrant forests. I am held when I cry out.
Jesus was. I am.
Thank you, Jesus.
Sit anew with baby Jesus. The vulnerable baby who will face such suffering and hardship. The vulnerable baby who knows he is loved in the midst of his full humanity and full divinity. He knows and rests in it even in his darkest hour. May we rest in Him so that we can do the same.