This Christmas Child
Watch him. Watch him. Watch this child, who grows into a boy, who grows into a man, and is found to be so much more.
Watch as he is born—with angelic visitations, amongst farmers and seekers and bright lights in the sky. Watch as he grows in favour and stature—as a youngster asking questions, giving answers, astounding teachers. Watch him in the desert—a young man in prayer, with hunger and parched lips, and a calling from heaven.
Watch this 30-something northerner—with his heavy accent and unrefined style; with a complex story and a questionable history; with his calloused hands and wood shavings in his hair. He grew up with Galilee ‘pagans’, his parents nearly never married, his brothers once thought him unbalanced, and the locals once drove him out of town. Yet watch his authority, his acceptance, his patience; watch the invisible currents around him that draw a flock of souls to his side.
Watch him with the people—Jews, Romans and Samaritans. Watch him touch the leper, heal the diseased, cleanse the impure. Watch him confront the proud, release the afflicted and feed a multitude. Watch him teach the crowds to forgive enemies and pray always. Watch him call for people who will walk his ‘narrow road’. Watch as some scoff, some follow and some hide. Watch the response he draws from friend and foe alike. To some he inspires wonder, in others he arouses awe; to some he is a pest and heretic, a revolutionary to be heard no more.
Watch him as he kneels—in a garden, and in anguish. ‘Father, if it is possible, may this cup pass from my hand. But not my will but yours be done.’ Radical submission to the heavenly plan.
Watch as the Christ of God is betrayed with a kiss—from a friend, from a follower, with his army brandishing swords. Watch, as they arrest him, as his ‘closest’ friends flee; watch as he submits to a fate sketched out before time. Watch as they spit and they hit and they ridicule. Watch as they pin him to two bits of wood. Watch as he gasps and he cries and he prays. ‘Forgive them,’ he pleads, ‘for they know not what they do.’
Watch as one final breath slips from his lips—the sins of the world on the shoulders of a man. Then watch, yes watch, as the stone’s rolled away; an empty tomb ringing hollow, for he indeed is alive!
Watch as his name and his fame fills the world.
This God, this man, this boy.
This Christmas child.
Picture by Luis Hernandez (creative commons)