Bonnie A. Perry
To you is born this day in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign, you will find the child wrapped in bands of cloth lying in a manger.
A baby. God has given us a baby: A baby devoid of magical, mystical skills except that which all babies have: a complete and utter defenselessness and neediness. God has given us, on this Holy night, a child wrapped in bands of cloth ready to be cared for and loved.
As theologian and writer, Frederick Buechner says, "Like any baby Jesus does not judge or exhort...He makes no demands, threatens no punishment, offers no rewards. The world is free to take him or leave him. He does not rule the world from his mother's lap but, like any child, is himself at the mercy of the world." (p. 29)
God sent God's son, not to chastise, judge or shame, but to be loved and to love.
Yet who of us here can bear to be loved? Who of us can openly, readily, easily utter the phrase, "Please. Love me." Have you ever managed to speak those words aloud? Love me. Now. With my raw, wounded soul.
What would it be like to be known and accepted as the chipped, fractured selves that we are? Who of us hasn't prayed and hoped that someone— be it our mothers, fathers, lovers, friends, priests, children who of us hasn't hoped that our sadness and need would somehow beckon care rather than repel love. I think for many of us we fear that were we to acknowledge how much we long for love, we would be seen like a lighthouse on a cliff blinking and warning of our distress, causing all to steer away and make their passage in safe waters nowhere near the shoals of our needs. Who hasn't had that fear?
Yet the point of this night, this Holy Night is that the gift, the only gift that Jesus has is to love us completely and utterly as we are.
Again, Frederick Buchner says, "Like any child, Jesus as a child has one power only and it is the power to love and be loved which is of all powers the most powerful because it alone can conquer the human heart; at the same time it is of all powers the most powerless, because it can do nothing except by consent. pp 26-27
So the question is, we who long for love, will we seek it out? Will we go with haste to see this thing which has been made known to us. Will we go to God, who has come to us? Will we risk being known and loved?
Come let us adore him.