Thursday, December 24, 2009

why He came

11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

-John 1:11-13

I have been meditating on this wondrous snatch of scripture, which is not your stock Christmas verse. When I awake early in order to cream butter & sugar for cookies... it is there, having rumbled around for days and days. It rises placidly to the surface, past the bobbling Christmas week goals I have made for myself, and makes itself known to me like a cheerful red buoy in a steel gray ocean.

He came to that which was his own. His very own people around whom He shaped history to show His love!

He came wrapped in cast-off clothing which smelled of barn animals. There was no place to lay this heavenly king, so they made his bed in a manger where sheep and donkeys nudged him, seeking their evening meal. Piles of fresh manure fragranced his first earthly sleep.

...but his own did not receive him -the people he came to save.

Those scoundrel innkeepers! Not making room for Baby Jesus and his road-weary parents! What species of blackened, unhospitable heart had they? Beyond being disingenuous, they pushed him away, offhandedly suggesting to Mary that she give birth in a barn.

I stop to think about the universality of humanity. I grudgingly agree with the bare fact that my heart has looked like their hearts. Two thousand years has refused to erase the uncanny resemblance. I resume my festivities with a humbler, more grateful soul.

Swimming in holiday chores of my own making -baking, cleaning, decorating, rehearsing, socializing, I purposefully tune in deeper to what He is declaring:

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

I find myself in the Christmas story in a different guise each season. So we all can find ourselves there, if we are honest enough to admit it. Innkeeper, shepherd, wise man, all.

Merry Christmas, seekers & receivers!


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