Our Christmas dinner was a resounding success! We planned on eating at 4:00, expecting to eat around 5:00. But thanks to the herculean efforts of Don Smith, who cooked the turkeys and did the bulk of the cooking, we started eating at 4:15! That’s some kind of Mosaic record for sure! We had a fantastic evening of music and food.
A big “Thank You” from the Mosaic community to everyone who provided support specifically for the Christmas dinner this year.
I was struck by this: They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”) What an amazing thing, that God chooses to be with us.
If God is with us, should we be tidying up? Should we be anxious? What does that look like? In what way is he with us? The very last verse, in it’s simplicity, seems to be a clue: "He named the baby Jesus.” It brings to mind the Genesis narrative in which Adam is created in the imago dei, in the image of God. One of the components of bearing the image of God is Adam’s priestly roll of creation care. Adam brings order [not neat-and-tidy-order but right-relationship-order] to creation. There’s a beautiful image of this in Adam naming the animals. God, speaks and brings a cosmos of right relationship into existence. Adam names, that fundamentally creative act, and brings further right relationship out of God’s cosmos of right relationship.
This is why that last little sentence is so amazing. Joseph, as son Adam, Jesus’ earthly father, names God In The Flesh. The God of Universe submits himself to being named by his own creation, on whom he bestowed the capacity to name.
This brings to mind Romans 5:18-21, in which Paul compares Adam to Jesus. I love The Message translation:
"Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.”
Read this part again: "But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!”
That’s the joy of this season. First that God chooses to be with us. Second that he comes to us in mind boggling humility. Third, that he takes on flesh so he can present us with an embodied persimmon faced finger wag. Wait… no that’s not right. He takes on flesh to present us with an embodied example of really living! To get us into life! That’s the joy of the season. We celebrate the ushering in of real living! Of drinking deep, eating well, sucking in a lungfuls of air, loving, laughing, embracing. Of being made for light and alive, wonderfully amazingly alive.