The Great Intrusion - Immanuel
When a virgin gets pregnant, she is typically no longer a virgin. What shame. What labeling. What a target for accusation and condemnation. Why would Jesus - the God Man - do such a thing? Why would He impose Himself, in all His wonder and splendor, on a poor virgin? Why would He risk ruining her identity - her image - her heritage - her reputation? Why would God be willing to ruin a girl's credibility in the midst of political and social turmoil?
We dare not call God intrusive. After all, the tidy manger and odor free manger is what sells. It is what the church and society has pitched for generations. If we keep Christmas at bay, and tame its wild and radical core, the masses can swallow a pill with its full cup of eggnog and holiday cheer. The baby Jesus in a manger is so cute. The night sky full of stars is glamorous. The picture perfect Inn is a lasting Hallmark tradition.
As Cornel West likes to describe his faith - "We must wrestle with the funk of things." Indeed. There is a funk of disappointment and mistrust that we must be willing to go into. The smelly manger must never be deodorized. Sadly, most people celebrate Christmas by suppressing every mediocre and disappointing thing of the year, and overcompensating in holiday cheer, festivities, clothes, and gifts. I would venture to say that over 95% of "strong men and women of faith" have completely missed Christmas, and have completely watered down the messiness of this baby Jesus - the Great Intruder.
Mary and Joseph were doing fine. They were engaged. They were in love. They had very little means, but had each other. The announcement of Jesus forming in Mary's womb would not only change human history, but it would change Mary's in a very intimate way. The perceived shame of being pregnant before marriage would have to get past her own thoughts. Then, it would have to get past her soon to be husband, Joseph. Then, it would have to get past her family - extended community - society - the world. There are phases to this intrusion. Jesus plants Himself in Mary. He then does damage control. An angel appears to Joseph, then to shepherds, wise men, and the rest is history. Jesus intrudes. But He makes provision for Himself. God violates us. He violates our paradigms, our way of life, our expectations, and our assumptions. He comes in and renovates our hearts, minds, and souls.
But He always makes provisions. He provides for His own plan. He sets things in motion that are beyond our human senses. When He makes a home in us, He works in dimensions that are far too great for us to even come to terms with. He justifies Himself. He tells the world what He is doing on our behalf. He speaks to the people in our lives that need explaining. He fights battles and wars that we don't even know. The Great Intruder Intrudes - but He does so in deep Humility - in deep Compassion - in Deep love. He intrudes because it is the nature of Immanuel.
God With Us.
God With Us changes everything. God With Us means He will join us in our miry pit. He will be our companion in the midst of extreme sorrow, unjustified doubt, and unforeseen poverty. God With Us will exalt us when we are at our lowest. God With Us will shepherd us when the pathway is so dark that we tremble at the thought of the next step. God With Us will disrupt our way for His greater way. Immanuel will be the Wonderful Counselor. He will trump political fragmentation, societal evils, racial injustice, deep inequity - all for His radical work in and through us. God With Us will form as a seed in a poor virgin - make no claim to fame - come into the world in such lowly circumstance - and make the entire world bow down. This is our God. This is God With Us. This is our Great Intruder.
Merry, Funky Christmas. Peace, and much love to you - Jeevo.