Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, December 25

Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.
—Luke 2:15b

By the time you read this, most of the world will have moved from the presents to the food, from "what did I get?" to football, from wrapping paper to the newspaper listing tomorrow's sales. But you are taking the time to read, to contemplate, to consider what this day really means, and by doing so, you are taking a detour that many people do not.

It strikes me that Jesus' birth is all about stumbling. Think of the nativity itself. Mary and Joseph fall into Bethlehem, poor and without a place to stay. Shepherds arrive from the fields, awestruck by a child born in a cattle stall. Kings travel from afar, not to greet a royal child with orb in hand, but to see the world's servant king among livestock.

And then, Jesus grows and the stumbling continues. He is announced in the desert by a man many thought crazy. He teaches from the law, and yet the establishment does not know what to do with him. He claims authority from above and even speaks of being God's son. He hangs out with prostitutes, tax collectors, and beggars. He is mocked and crucified. Indeed, Jesus is surrounded by people who stumble.

It's that very fact that we celebrate today. We celebrate God coming to humanity with all our infirmities, mistakes, misunderstandings, and confusion. God comes to us as we stumble along, but instead of telling us we are doing it all wrong, Jesus lives among us as one of us and stumbles right beside us—not in an imperfect way, but in the journey that shows all of us what it means to be a child of God.

The Nativity of Jesus is about God coming amidst life. God does not arrive in splendor, whisking us away from all that claims us. Instead, God comes among all the stumbling of life and shows us a way to wholeness and goodness in life. It is the gift of God loving us and coming among us just as we are that is the message of this great day.

And while many may miss it amidst the presents, food, and shopping, you have stumbled upon that message and by so doing walked into the Truth that you are never alone. Could it be that the stumbling is the key to the greatest gift of all?

God, you know my life, my stumbling. Let me see your love amidst it all that I might receive your gift of grace. Amen.