Newsletter Article for Shavertown United Methodist Church, Dec. 2006
In the Prayer book Celtic Daily Prayer, there is a short essay about Advent. One line in it struck me. It says that “the door to the stable where the Christ Child has been born is very low—and only those who kneel find access.”
Great. Another time when I’m being told that I need to be humble to find God. Another instance when I am told that I need to get over myself in order to grow in Christ. We’re called to serve. We’re called to be kind to those who aggravate us. Oh, bla bla bla. Can’t I just once get mad, follow through on it, and it be God’s plan? Jesus got to turn the moneychanger’s tables over in the temple, I bet that felt really good. Can’t I just once?
There are times when we just know we are right. Problem is, we human types will take what is right and run way too far with it, making what was right into a sin, through pride, prejudice, insecurity or any of the other ways in which we are imperfect when compared to our brother Jesus Christ. So, yes, we need to be reminded more than one six week period a year that we must be humble in the face of the one God who created the world and loves us perfectly.
So, no, I don’t get to cut loose. None of us do, because no matter how much we may believe it, we are just not close enough to God to do it God’s way. Jesus is our model, and he only got to do it once!
Maybe that’s why he sent Jesus as a baby. We want to be our best selves around a baby, for some reason, especially for parents. It’s true for almost everyone, though.
So, as a way of keeping ourselves grounded and humble, whenever we get steamed or aggravated, maybe it would do us some good to think about how we look to a baby. Do we really want a child to see what we’re doing and learn from us that this is how to function in the world?
That may be the best lesson of Advent: to act as if a baby is watching and learning.