“Who Would Want to Be Like Me?”
I know everyone I meet. Friend or stranger, older or younger, regardless of gender, ethnicity, language or culture - I already know them. You do too. Of course, there are differences among us and each is unique in their own identity, still on a basic level, we know each other. Our insight is not built by relationship or investigation but by commonality. Being human, we are all alike.
We share the sensations of body. My pain and pleasure is the same as yours or anyone else’s. My craving for a burger, need for a nap or throat parched by dust are understood without explanation around the world. We all experience similar limitations. Our capacities may differ, but we know together what it is to reach the end of strength, patience, wisdom, courage, time, space or even goodness and love. So we can sympathize with one another in the struggles of head and heart. What is in you, is also in the person checking your groceries, delivering your mail or panhandling at the stoplight. Since we share humanity, you already know them. That can be said of all of us. That could not be said of God - until Christmas.
The story of Christmas is the confounding truth of the Incarnation. God became man in Jesus Christ. God did not simply dress up as human. He was not content to act out the role of Adam on history’s stage. He refused to be content with knowing the theory of human experience. He became what He had created. And He remained what He has eternally been. Fully God and fully human. The sensations of our body became His sensations. The bite of an apple. The smell of saltwater. Laughter and hugs. Pleasure and pain. Jesus knows this. He squeezed Himself into the limitations of life. Walking from town to town. Pressed by the demands of many. Asking questions. Being misunderstood. Hungry. Fatigued. Tempted. Alone. With mother and father, friends and enemies, work and rest, birth and death. Jesus became what we are.
So, Jesus knows you. He is versed in our common humanity. He needs no instruction about what life is like. Tell Him about your day. Pour out your heart; vent and complain, praise and petition. You’ll find a welcome that’s graced by incarnate compassion. Since our best humanity is damaged and defective, we also find forgiveness, healing and restoration from the perfect God/Man. He did what we could not do and gives what we do not have. He does this as our Brother.
The truth of Incarnation becomes even more perplexing and filled with wonder. The humanity of Jesus - received by conception, fleshed in His life and death, has never been let go. He was resurrected as humanity glorified and ascended as eternal God/Man. So He knows you now. He will know you forever. And you can know Him. The stunning simplicity of Christmas - God wanted to be like me, that I could become like Him.