Every year another Christmas passes, one celebration after another, with little change. After all, Christmas is a holiday, filled with tradition, hardly a time for things to change, or new thinking to take place. We go to church on Christmas Eve, we sing the same songs, we light the candles, to Silent Night of course, and walk out the door. That service would have been proceeded by a dinner, maybe the same dinner we have been eating for years. Then we would drive home from church, looking at some lights, open one gift before bed, and wait for Christmas day to arrive. And Christmas day would be much of the same things we have been doing for years. Get up, eat breakfast, open gifts, eat more, turn on a football game, fall asleep on the couch. Repeat. Repeat.
So it was hardly that I would have expected to walk away from the Christmas Eve service last night, in a church in Redmond, WA, that I would have begun to think about something new. The service was structured around five passages of scripture reading, all focusing on what they deemed, “Passages of Interruption.” Five different readings, where people’s everyday lives were interrupted, and taken out of their normal movements. Everyone from Mary and Joseph, to the shepherds, to the wisemen, to the disciples, and on and on and on.
That seems like a very fitting description of the arrival of Jesus Christ into this world. Interruption. People’s lives would never be the same. They have never been the same since the creation of the world and as God spoke to His people for thousands of years. But something about the arrival of God, in flesh, lying in a manger is not quite what we had expected. And when something comes along that we do not expect, it seems like a major interruption, because it does not fit into our reality of life.
This Christmas season, I am more and more impressed with who God is, and how He chose to reveal Himself in the form of a baby. That does not seem that unusual I suppose until one has spent some time around babies. Being around my fiance’s newborn newphew (which is my soon to be newphew) I am struck with just how helpless a baby child is. All they do is eat, and sleep, and other things, all day long. Repeat. Repeat. So helpless, dependent on others for every little thing. That is why I am so impressed with the fact that that is the way God entered into the world. As a little baby, dependent upon others for every little thing. A definitive portrait of a humble king (Phil. 2).
And this Christmas season, I am more and more impressed with those around Christ, whose lives seemed interrupted. For Mary, a young woman in her teens, who is found pregnant, even though she is a virgin. In a culture such as that, she could have been stoned to death for having a child outside of wedlock, or being found to have a child with another man. Surely Joseph had some questions. For Joseph, whose life as a carpenter seemed to be interrupted and uprooted, as he had to cope not only with his soon to be wife being found pregnant, though he had not had sex with her. A man who trusts God, as did Mary, and flees for their survival. For the shepherds, who seem highly unlikely to be the first to receive the good news.
Our God is an amazing God, and I am reminded about how to easy it is for me to get caught up in my routine, my reality of how life is supposed to be, that I hardly rely on God anymore, because He seems too much like an interruption, and I instead rely on myself.
So it is this Christmas season that God and others are challenging me to see Him with new eyes, in a new light. To break out of the sterile religious routine that we often find ourselves in, because basically, it’s just easier that way.
Merry Christmas this year, and may God show reveal Himself to you in many ways that you had not expected, and may you be open for your religious and life routines to be interrupted.