Listening to an interveiw with James Martin today, and he said, "There's a reason Jesus didn't come to earth as a book." Walking with Padre in the woods, I laughed out loud. I would buy that book! I'd study it. I'd quote it. I'd be inspired by it, and follow that damn author on Facebook.
But that's not how it happened. Whether it's "true" or not, the story is that he came as a baby. A pooping, peeing, crying, needy baby. Completely helpless, on the margins, breaking into our human story not as a celestial being, an oracle, or an angel, but as one of us. I've been confused for a long time about the divinity of Jesus, but I'm not hung up on it anymore. The Incarnation moves me, no matter what. It's the flesh and flood, the hands and feet, to all of our ideas about goodness and justice. It's the crazy, here-and-nowness of God.
Krista Tippett, who's OnBeing podcast is a huge, sacred part of my life, says she doesn't "do" Christmas because we've tamed it, commercialized it. That disappointed me. Things will always be impure. We'll always take something good and mess it up with our egos, our need for control, and the things we leave out of the story. But I'm into wonder these days. And if lights on houses, little felted Santas, and wrapping gifts late at night helps to usher that in a little bit, I'll take it. I remember Mary again--overwhelmed, unlikely, poor and young, still saying, "I'm not sure what this is about, but let's do it."