So to review: God incarnate in Jesus destroys our certainty about who we are and how we relate to the world; calls us to abandon our respectability; challenges us to forsake simplistic decision-making and listen to God’s voice. He renders angelic powers and allegedly divine human rulers un-worshipable, and in their place gives us a direct relationship with God as our Father, effectively forcing us into spiritual adulthood. Add it all up, and it’s profoundly destructive. “You want to know why you’re so unhappy?” my mentor Rich once bellowed at a crowd. “Because Jesus ruined everything!”
So He did. Where’s He going with all that? Jesus told us: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD,” and again: “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
The old world dies so that the new world can be born – a world of freedom and healing that Jesus calls the Kingdom of God. What will that be like? The prophets Jesus quoted talk of a time when the lion lies down with the lamb, when disease, hunger, and war are no more. We are obviously not there yet. Do we have to wait until then? Jesus says no; if He’s the real thing, then it’s already here. Fully here? Of course not. But truly here nonetheless. How would you like to live there?
You can – it’s what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas!