Another year and another Christmas and another go of me thinking about how much the Incarnation absolutely rules. It’s really something that God looked down on a world that was in true disarray—a dumpster fire, of sorts—and said “yeah, I’m going in.” And the omnipotent, eternal, cosmic Logos showed up here in a small wooden trough as a fragile, small, mortal baby. It’s really something.
In the midst of war, strife, persecution, suffering, and uncertainty... God lived. God lived among us as one of us and not even as a sort of Lone Ranger type, or scientist studying us creatures from a safe distance, but God was with us. WITH us. Talking to us, challenging us, rejoicing with us and mourning with us, working hard to crack open our hearts a little wider and pry our minds a little bit more open, and ease the suffering in this world as much as a mortal body that stresses and fatigued and aches could possibly do.
So in the midst of our own wars, strife, persecutions, sufferings, and uncertainties—we are called to live too. And even more so among all the many other things that we’ve come to see as normal but that cause us hurt, sorrow, and disappointment—unhealthy work environments, complicated home life or family situations, schoolwork that seems hard simply for its own sake, or internal turmoil of the mental, physical, or existential sort—we are called to live too. The logic of the Incarnation reminds us that we aren’t merely supposed to live for the things that seem /worth/ living for. Money, accolades, promotions, clout, nice cars or fancy houses, these things ain’t it. But neither are some of the more subtle and respectable aims of this life—the admiration of our peers, a well manicured lawn or a well decorated home or a well put-together life, or the power and authority (and respect) of graduate degrees or workplace positions. The Incarnation reminds us that the life worth living can be as small and mundane and holy and good as a baby crying in a barn. And thank God for that reminder.
So let’s take heart, friends. It’s hard to be a human but it is so, so worth it. The mere act of existing is a worthwhile project. There is plenty of room in the life of faith for doubt, sadness, anger, frustration and even the occasional bout of despondency but there is no room at all for nihilism. This is a life worth living and it matters that we do just that, live: whole-heartedly, vulnerably, courageously, tenderly.