She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called Son of the Highest. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; He will rule Jacob‘s house forever ~ no end, ever, to his kingdom.” Luke 1:30-31 The Message
Here is a story from a writer I treasure. Even if you have read it before, enjoy it now during the Christmas season. And then, let’s keep Him alive in our hearts all year long.
I saw him in the drugstore. He was a big, awkward-looking guy with work-worn hands and he was at the card rack fumbling through the section marked, “Birthday, Wife”. I watched him as he picked out one or two cards and read them and put them back and I could tell by the look on his face he wasn’t finding what he had in mind at all. He read another card and put it back. Picked another one and finally he chose one of those corny-looking cards with flowers on the front, probably said, “Roses are red, violets are blue” or something like that. And I could tell that he still wasn’t happy with what he had found, but finally he sighed, and took it to the checkout counter and paid the lady. She put it in a brown paper sack and he walked out the door.
I suppose he took it home and scrawled something on the bottom of it, simply like, “Love, Pete”, and gave it to her. But it didn’t say what he wanted it to say because it just isn’t easy to say the things that really matter, is it? It isn’t always easy to say, “I really love you”. Sometimes it’s hard to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong”. Sometimes it’s hard to say, “I acted like a fool yesterday, please forgive me.” Sometimes it just isn’t easy to say, “you’re the glue that holds my whole world together and I think sometimes if it weren’t for you, I’d just fall apart.”
Things that you really want to say aren’t all that easy, are they? But you know, I think she knew. I think by the way he put an awkward arm around her shoulder or kind a punched her on the elbow, she probably knew. And I think he knew that she’d know. Because there is something about living with somebody for a long time and having them there where you can sense the vibes, you know, look them in the eye. Those things that are so hard to say don’t have to be said. Love says it.
You know, I think God tried all down through history to tell us what He wanted us to know. And He sent His prophets and His teachers and they tried and we got part of it. We got the part about God’s justice and His law. We got the part about when we do bad things that we somehow have to pay, but the part that God really wanted us to know, the part that says, “Oh, how I love you”, we weren’t getting that, were we? God seemed so far away.
But before time began, God had a plan and He said, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll send My love right down there where they are, where they can see it and touch it and know it. And I’ll send it as a little, tiny, vulnerable baby so they will have to touch it and they will have to hold it close.” God’s love in a baby blanket in our arms. And my Bible says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory; the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.”
The story of Christmas has been told a lot of different ways. There was this big history about how the offspring of King David and Saul and Solomon would come. How like God to send an ordinary baby. How like God to choose to limit Himself to our bodies and our language and our time and space. How like God when we were so broken and guilty to choose to walk with us and touch us and make us whole.