“To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult with every year.”
– E. B. White
This year I understood what E.B. White was saying. Shopping for gifts and sitting through traffic gave me the feeling that somehow we were missing the obvious point. It’s like asking everyone to ignore a beautiful centerpiece in the room, so everyone just turns and stares at the wall, as if the wall is more interesting to look at.
The centerpiece that has become so easy to ignore is a feeding trough. Instead of holding food for animals, there lays the Bread of Life, as a vulnerable infant. God interrupts history to become one of us in the flesh, but instead of an entrance of parade and pomp, he enters the world among people and circumstances that are humble.
Approachable is the Savior’s name. “Emmanuel” is a name for Jesus that we hear at Christmas which means “God with us”. It is an important word because it clarifies what it is that we are to understand about the birth of Christ: God is not keeping his distance. God has come to us with an invitation to know him. God’s desire for humanity from the time of the prophets and before is that we would approach Christ for the friendship with God that we were created for.
“No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
– Jeremiah 31:34