Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." Then the Pharisees said to him, "You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid." Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf." Then they said to him, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." John 8:13-19That God, the creator of all that is and holy other than we, chose to come is amazing enough. That the almighty God and Lord of the universe chose to come as one of us is astounding. That the almighty God chose to come in such a vulnerable form--a baby totally dependent on everyone and everything around him--tells me that we have to rethink everything we ever thought about power and about love.
On this seventh day of Christmas, we are reminded that the baby in the manager was not some kinder or new manifestation of the God of Israel but the essence of who God was, is, and always will be! This is not a distant, angry God but a loving, seeking God. A God who will go to any lengths to reach us. Wow!
I remember the Advent I finally made that connection. It was a bad time for me personally and I was struggling. Quite honestly, I was seriously considering leaving church. I wasn't sure I believed that a personal, loving God existed. Then one day, I was reflecting on the incarnation and what that claim was saying about God. A God who would give up power and glory. A God who didn't simply cheer us on from afar but entered into our world with us. A God who would didn't overpower but empowered. And that was a God I wanted to believe in and that is the God I have come to know.
So on the 7th day, no swans, but a quote from Bono to reflect on:
"I remember coming back from a very long tour.... On Christmas Eve I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. ...It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story. The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Logic in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty... a child, I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry. Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and ...tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this. Because that’s exactly what we were talking about earlier: love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It’s actually logical. It’s pure logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It’s inevitable. Love has to become an action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh." - Bono