Proof that babies give the best Christmas presents

Ashley Urquidi is a middler in the M.Div. program.  Ashley comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Maryland.

This holiday season has been bittersweet for me, in many ways. There is a tear in the family I was born into, one I fear may be irreparable. And yet, despite this, I believe I now see more clearly than I ever have before. Christmas is about love. This makes sense, right? But sometimes it takes a travesty to see that Christmas isn't just about any kind of love, it's about the love God offers us through the birth of His Son. That is deep God-love, the kind of love that our language fails to convey in single (or multiple) words. It is self-sacrificing and self-emptying. It is the courage to make yourself vulnerable to pain and sorrow, to move from safety and security into chaos simply to better the lives of those you care for. Giving and receiving this love requires, demands, the giving of yourself.

Today, in this Christmas season, I see more clearly than ever how God gave of Himself. He opened Himself to complete vulnerability, coming to Earth as a baby, needing our love and care. I look at my six month old son, I feel how much love I have for him, and I can begin to understand the kind of love it took for Jesus to be born into this world as our savior, with all of the pain and sacrifice that comes along with it. There are many kinds of love, but some- a very small few- are distortions, masquerading as the kind God offers us. But during Christmas, there isn't room for self-serving, self-righteous love. There is room only for the pure love Jesus brings, exemplified in the very essence of the baby lying in the manger.

That is what I celebrate this season, this year. The unexplainable, beautiful, life-giving love we receive with the birth of Christ, that I received doubly this year with the birth of my son. That is what all of this is about, what we strive for each and every day, and what we take a little extra time to focus on come Christmas morning. When we say, "I wish Christmas could last all year" what I think we mean is "I wish we could love like this all the time." And we can! We don't need to save this love for one time a year. It's not like the good china that only comes out on special occasions, it's like the plastic-ware used on a daily basis because it's reliable, easy to maintain, and can withstand anything. The love we receive with Christmas can withstand anything, even death, and will never bend or break. It is the one thing we can count on each and every day, but it still is nice to have a season to remind us that it's there.

Merry Christmas, and may the love of Christ be with you!