Recently, while reflecting on the Christmas carol, “Away in a manger,” I did a rant in my head about the line – “little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.” My thoughts went like this, “Of course he cried, he was a human baby, human babies cry. Cry to be held, cry to be fed, cry because they are hurt. Crying is part of the normal human experience, nothing sinful about a baby crying.”
Then I was brought up short by this thought – “There comes a point when a hungry baby stops crying.” Images of mothers holding starving, silent infants filled my mind. I was stopped in my tracks and filled with awe – maybe the carol is correct. What if in becoming one of us Jesus was a hungry baby not getting enough food? What if he experienced being a malnourished child? Such sacrifice to identify with humanity, to be with the lowly and the poor, takes my breath away. It drives me to my knees in awe and wonder at the mystery and humility of the Incarnation.
The musician Joan Osborne sang, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us.” God has come to be one of us, hungry like many in our world, homeless like many in our world, a refugee like many in our world…
Jesus came to be one of us; God with us. God with the hungry and the homeless; God with the hurting and those without hope; God with those who rejoice and those filled with gratitude. In Jesus Christ, God holds us, cares for us, heals us, is with us.
God of the universe, when your Son came to be with us, he was not born into comfort and ease, but into poverty and homelessness. He did not come with status and prestige, but in humility and lowliness. We rejoice that he walks with the rejected and gives rest to the weary.
In this season of Advent and Christmas, may we find that Jesus has come for us, come to be with us. Raise holy anticipation in us that we would find our hope renewed in the promise of the Prince of Peace coming to our world.
Bring us in wonder to the manger that we might really see our Saviour, Jesus Christ who was born to set us free. As we seek to take in the awe-filled truth of the Incarnation may our voices burst forth with our hearts’ song, “All glory be to you, God on high.”
These things we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.
—The Rev. Peter Bush, Moderator of the 143rd General Assembly