How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace. Isaiah 52
I love the way Charles Wesley describes the incarnation: “Our God contracted to a span / Incomprehensibly made man (sic)….He deigns in flesh to appear / Widest extremes to join… And we the life of God shall know / For God is manifest below.”
Nothing could ever be so unexpected. The God of heaven has an earthly address. As Karl Rahner has written:Now we no longer need to seek God in the endlessness of heaven, where our spirit and our heart get lost. Now he himself is on our very earth, where he is no better off than we and where he receives no special privileges, but our every fate: hunger, weariness, enmity, mortal terror and a wretched death. That the infinity of God should take upon itself human narrowness, that bliss should accept the mortal sorrow of the earth, that life should take on death — this is a most unlikely truth. But only this — the obscure light of faith — makes our nights bright, only this makes them holy.
I met someone the other day from Belgium. She came to be in South Africa especially for the 10 days of mourning that followed Nelson Mandela’s death. She was irresistibly drawn to be here — to the soil and the people — to share and to love and to hold. Having visited South Africa before she carried a permanent sense of connection within herself for us. “I just had to be here at this time”, she said.
God’s earthly visit to share and to love and to hold is what Christmas is all about. And forevermore God carries a permanent sense of connection within God’s self for us.
Look around you. God is near. Look inside you. God is near. Take comfort because God is near. Tremble with awe because God is near. And get this … now it is impossible to escape God loving you.
Prayer of Preparation
YOU are with us!
YOU are with US!
YOU are WITH US!
YOU ARE WITH US!
O Lord give to us the gift of knowing your presence and the blessing of peace and courage that flows from it. Amen.