I love this time of year. The schmaltzy music, the festive gatherings, the aromatic decorations. Even amidst the less holy expressions and overindulgences there’s a sense of wonder. Transcendence. That there’s something greater than ourselves going on here.
A not so subtle reminder that God did something miraculous. Outrageous. Scandalous. Unheard of.
When we couldn’t get to Him, He came for us.
But I have to confess, I’m a bit torn. I don’t want to admit it, but I have my own naughty list. My “I-bring-you-good-tidings-of-great-joy-which-shall-be-to-all-people” except them index. Come on, I bet you have one too.
New England Patriots.
That guy on my street who leaves his Christmas lights up until Easter.
Last Saturday, we sent home a little Safe Families boy who had been staying with us for a few weeks. His mom was serving a jail sentence for what we believe were drug related issues, and there were allegations of neglect and abuse (since dropped) that needed to be addressed. But the call came. She was out and clear. And she wanted her son back.
As I hugged him goodbye for the last time, I couldn’t ignore what I was feeling. Certainly Jesus came for this innocent little boy. And I’m confident He came for me and my family. But this mom? No way. She’s beyond redemption. Not worthy of the incarnational gift that is Emmanuel, God with us.
Even as I write those words, I feel the sting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing her sin. I just don’t want to try and justify my own. I still keep a scorecard. Still think my life’s worth more. Still subliminally believe Jesus came for me because I earned it. So this is just a little Christmas reminder:
Jesus is a gift.
For you. For me. For Bill Belichick (ugh). For this little boy’s mom. For all people.
No one is beyond the reach of Emmanuel. No one. When we couldn’t find a way to get to Him, God came for us.