Make Way for the Lord
Lucy Strandlund is in the Masters of the Arts in Spiritual Formation program and comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Alabama.
As I sat in church on Christmas Eve, my brain full of a semester’s worth of new Biblical Studies knowledge, I felt very distant from any Jesus who might be found sleeping in a wooden manger. In the two Gospels that mention the birth of Jesus, only one spends much time on the story of his infancy. To me, the Jesus of the Gospels is a grown man who meets us where we are but invites us to be more than we have been. So who is this little baby? Where is the challenging and radical man from the Bible? This baby can’t tell cryptic parables or invite sinners to dinner. I wondered what Christmas meant to me as someone who is very much fascinated by the adult Jesus.
Then I remembered that Christmas is about wonder. These twelve days are a gift—a moment in time to be simply caught up in wonder and awe that the Almighty became flesh in the form of a vulnerable, soft-skinned infant. There will be plenty of time in which to discover the adult Jesus, and in today’s Gospel, John the Baptist does not allow us to forget into whom Jesus will grow. He says, “Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal” (John 1.26-27). John the Baptist reminds us of who Jesus will be.
But we’re not there yet.
So for now, “sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Psalm 98.1). Receive the gift of Christmas—this moment to be lost in wonder and praise. Biblical Studies will return soon enough.