the baby behind Christmas

I have a confession to make. I don’t really love the Jesus I grew up believing in. In fact, I don’t even really like him. Sure, my understanding was skewed. Even though he was an outcast, I still managed to view him as the holier-than-thou symbol of religiosity who spoke eloquently yet was an unapproachable leader. Marked by those mantle-framed blue eyes, pale skin, and long, flowing golden brown hair, my image of Jesus was skewed in nearly every way.
However, my own broken journey of being misunderstood, alienated, and in search of justice amidst a culture of religiosity left me aching for a more tangible spiritual leader. And wouldn’t you know it…in all of my searching, I found that ragamuffin Jesus on the margins as well. I recently stumbled on a love letter I wrote to Jesus – the actual Jesus – and wondered if perhaps, as we enter the Christmas season, more of us need to be reminded of who we are celebrating and why.
Remember…
  
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating a refugee child born into humanity’s leftovers. We didn’t make room for him then, and we hardly make room for him now.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the Limitless Universe (read: God) appearing in our midst for the first time – as a helpless child – to show us how to be fully human and how to see and know and love one another.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the overthrow of an empire – the meekest and mildest baby upsetting the entire rule of a wealthy king.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the divine purpose entrusted to a young woman, named Mary, who was chosen by the the God of Abraham to carry a deep and secret miracle (that was only explained to her betrothed husband, and other men, later on in the story).
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the truth that it is often the humble and the unsuspecting that shake up the culture and make a way for the oppressed when it seems as if there is no way.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the beauty of belonging to something other than yourself; Mary knew it, Joseph came to know it, the shepherds knew it, the wise men knew it. Something compelled them all to be a part of this great and divine mystery, that mere words could not explain.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the turning of the tides – religiosity being flipped over like tables in a temple as the new temple of faithful spirituality rises in its place.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the gift of Love offered to ALL – without exception.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating the miracle of new beginnings, new hope, and prophetic fulfillment.
 
If you are celebrating Christmas, you are celebrating light quietly rising, amidst the darkness, and calmly growing up and into a tiny revolution of remarkable faith that pierces through every injustice, oppression, sorrow, and ailment.
 
If these truths seem new or unfamiliar to you, I challenge you to enter this Advent season with an openness to who Jesus really is and all that his birth really represents.
 
Chances are, these new revelations will make an astonishing difference in your life and in how you interact with your own faith story – no matter what chapter you are in.
 
So what would you add?
 
If you, dear reader, are celebrating Christmas…what are you celebrating?
 
May light and hope find you this Advent season,
 
-s
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