The baby in the grit

It’s still Christmas around here.  The tree is up (albeit getting a tad dry by now) and the carols are getting a lot of play.   I’m enjoying the time away from school, though being home on rainy days with my two very active boy-children is not exactly relaxing.    But the time with them is precious nonetheless.  I’ve been doing lots of coloring, kicking balls around the wet lawn, and receiving lots of sweet, spontaneous  hugs.  There’s nothing better.

And now that the hustle-bustle of Christmas preparations is past, I’m finding more time to meditate on the season.  Really, is there a more beautiful and more astonishing story than the Christmas narrative? — God becomes a tiny baby and is born in a stable, the most humble and cold and [probably] most smelly place imaginable.   Right from the start, there were plenty of signs that this was a baby who would grow to be a pretty subversive character, forsaking wealth and power and friends in high places in order to hang out with the folks that everyone else despised.   I love that about Jesus.  I really, really do.

We prettify the Nativity, with our pastel-colored Christmas mangers and our  lovely paintings in which Mary looks perfect and Jesus seems, already, to be a small adult.  And yes, I like those images as much as the next person.   But when I really think about it, I am reminded that even from the very beginning, God-as-man was close to poverty and grit and the people on the margins.   He entered into that world and invites us to do the same.

There’s a lot to ponder there.

Madonna by Albin Egger-Lienz

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