One of the presents given to my daughter this Christmas was a selfie-stick. A selfie stick, allows someone to get more into the photo by creating extra distance between the phone and those wanting to be in the picture. So (embarrassing as it is) attached to this blog is my selfie pic for the first Sunday after Christmas taken at CTK this morning.
One of the things I love about Christmas is its inclusivity. The accounts of the nativity are great stories because they make room for so many different people. The grumpy inn keeper who has no room; the common-or-garden shepherds out in the countryside; the princes from foreign lands and, of course, Mary, Joseph and the animals by the manger. As someone once said to me, there’s even room for the ass (and most families have one of those!). And it feels like the most tentative figure struggling to find room is God. Just imagine. Without modern medical advice to tell when a baby is due; lacking familiar people like a local midwife to help with the delivery; and most of all having no idea where this life would come into the world. I think most of us would find that a pretty terrifying combination of alarming things. Yet God entrusts this Divine cargo to Mary and Joseph. Ordinary people asked to do an extraordinary thing.
At Christmas we are reminded that it is God who risks everything to get into our picture. Those who are in-the-know, like the shepherds and the Magi, appreciate how amazing it is to be part of that picture. But most of the rest of the world had no idea who had arrived. By putting Jesus in the frame we are all dignified and honoured. But more than that. The appearance of Jesus can change our landscape forever. His appearance transforms everything he’s connected with, including us. God is thrown into human life so that the division between what’s holy and what’s human ceases to matter. In Jesus we can lead undivided lives – living the life to come in our lives today, tasting the Kingdom even before it has fully arrived. Like the Old Testament vision of the ladder between earth and heaven the arrival of Jesus is a vital and lasting connection between the God and humanity.
The immense commitment of God in sending Jesus to become part of our picture means that we don’t need to do anything alone. Jesus restores us to the life God meant us to lead and even our worship of God now takes place through the holiness Jesus gives us.
Jesus has become part of how we see ourselves, and at Christmas God invites us to live out the truth of this, and do whatever we can to get caught up in the drama and mystery of salvation. Jesus is part of our spiritual selfie – and we are in turn invited to find our place in God’s story.