So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about the child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
Can you imagine? Can you imagine what Mary must have been thinking as she pondered all that had happened and had been foretold? Can you imagine?
Imagination is at the heart of our experience of Christmas. We, with Mary, Joseph, the angels and shepherds, are part of something magnificently wonderful—something that words cannot begin to express. We are part of the magnificence of God’s greatest gift, the gift of the Incarnation, something so spectacular that we are only able to imagine its implications.
God loved the world so much that God glorified the whole created order by becoming a part of the creation itself through the birth of Jesus—God’s only Son—to Mary. This act of love transformed the world and continues to transform the world as we know it.
Pondering the transformation of the whole world is daunting, to say the least. Perhaps we would do better to follow Mary’s example and ponder the implications of God’s gift of love in our own hearts—how does the Incarnation impact my life and my relationship with God?
To put it very simply (perhaps too simply), the Incarnate Christ is a constant reminder of God’s continuing, intimate presence with us; and we are a constant reminder of our continuing presence to God. The ongoing power of the Incarnation keeps us in a relationship with God that is deeply personal; it is what gives us the audacity to claim our inheritance through Jesus Christ as daughters and sons of God. As Paul writes, “And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Gal. 4:6, 7)
What greater gift can we receive than the gift of God’s unconditional love? But we feel unworthy to accept that gift because we are broken, sinful human beings. Yet it precisely because we are broken, sinful human beings that God has given us this gift, a gift that transforms us and enables us to love God and one another as God loves us. Moreover it is a gift that is ours forever for, as Paul writes in Romans, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:38,39)
Through this perfect gift of God we are transformed and we are empowered to continue the transformation of the world in the ways in which we share this gift with others. The love of God through Jesus Christ is inexhaustible. The more we share it, the more we receive, grace upon grace.
This Christmas, and always, share the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. As a child of God, accept your portion of the work we have been given to do to help embrace a sin-sick and weary world that all may come to know and accept God’s perfect gift of love to us through Christ Jesus. Imagine the difference this gift will make in the world. Imagine the power you can begin to unleash. Imagine.