Advent, 4th Sunday. Imagine throwing a birthday party for all your closest friends. They all come to celebrate with you and they bring fantastic gifts. But then they give their gifts to each other... no one brought a gift for you, and it was your birthday! That would be strange, wouldn't it? But that's how we celebrate Christmas every year. It is the birthday of Jesus, but instead of getting Him a gift, we give gifts to everyone else.
We are celebrating the birthday of Jesus. But in order to really appreciate what the birthday of Jesus means we need to go back to the beginning. God prophesied a Messiah and the Jewish people thought that meant another great king like David. But God had even better plans: He himself wanted to become one of us. God is our relation!
Mary got to conceive Him, hold Him, care for Him -- and they grew closer and closer together. The first gift of Christmas is not something but Someone: Emmanuel, God-with-us. God is not a big, powerful, impersonal force. God is content to put himself into our hands, and to be vulnerable and helpless before us. He was willing to be a child in our hands; are we willing to be a child in His hands? Mary gave Jesus the gift of herself; she made space for Him in her life.
What are we going to give Jesus for His birthday?
(18 Dec 2011)