Every year the Churches Advertising Network produces a poster to remind the world that Christmas starts with Christ...and very often they provoke controversy.
You will probably remember that some years ago, there was Christ as Che Guavarra – with the caption “Meek? Mild? As if...”
In 2010 it was the rather wonderful image based on a scan – the unborn infant's head clearly showing the halo that represents his divinity....and this year – well, this year it's the Godbaby.
You may well find it distasteful...specially if, like me, you REALLY dislike baby dolls and forbade your children to use “wee” as anything other than a Scottish word for “small”.
But that's fine
The point of the adverts is to shake us and disturb us...and actually, that's the point of Christmas too.
The Word was made flesh
and flesh is messy, often embarassing, prone to ills, ageing,even death -
and yet it is in this form that God enters our world.
And yes – the baby Jesus will indeed have done EVERYTHING that any baby does...
Forget the assertion “The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes”
He was a REAL baby
He cried, and gurgled...kept his mother awake and relied on her for life itself because that's what babies do.
He made himself totally vulnerable – dependent on human love for his very survival, this Godbaby in the manger.
Dependent on the hospitality of Mary's womb and the rough and ready welcome of a crowded town.
Dependent still on our hospitality- and if that doesn't shake you, then frankly nothing will.
The power that brought the universe into being, that holds the stars in their courses and knows when a sparrow falls, depends on us to welcome Him and to make His love known in the world.
John's gospel speaks to us of 2 births...Christ's entry into our life – and ours into his.
“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.”
So human life is changed utterly as we experience that new birth and accept our kinship with the Christ Incarnate – made flesh – 2000 years ago in that stable in Bethlehem and incarnate now in His Church – in you and me.
He shares our humanity – even our irritating, unreliable bodies – so that we may share his divinity....becomes what we are, to make us what HE is.
We experience this week by week as we receive the life of Christ in bread and wine but today we celebrate that moment when earth and heaven collide and all things are changed forever.
And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us – and we saw his glory.
The glory of God in a human baby – full of grace and truth.