by Tony Nester

Be Small Enough
Tony Nester

(For Christmas Eve)

Nativity sets, live nativity dramas, manger scenes - Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger - it's the most sentimental part of Christmas. We are drawn to babies because they are so vulnerable - so completely helpless without us and so wholly dependent on our care. When a baby looks into your eyes you just know that here is a life that needs you, wants you, and longs to gaze at the features of your face. Babies are an invitation to draw near to the human spirit. Christmas is also an invitation to draw near to the Spirit of God - come to us in the charm of a new born child.

It's good, I think, that God has provided us with a way to approach Him that feels so safe and has such charm.

There are so many other, less safe, not so approachable and far less charming images of God that people carry around in their minds - an angry God, a vengeful God, a distant God.

Here, at the Manger, such off-putting images of God are nowhere to be found. Here is God needing the same acts of loving care, tender touch, and constant feeding that we've all needed as infants and continue to need, albeit in more mature forms, as adults.

It's good, I think, to recognize that God needs us. It's strange to say that the Almighty needs anything from human beings who are so small, so weak and so imperfect.

Some theologies have said, "No; it can't be that God needs anything or anyone for God is perfect in Himself." Some of the ancient philosophers said that God would never think of anything but Himself because God alone is perfect and God would never waste His time thinking about less than the most perfect and excellent things.

And yet Christmas tells us that God does need us. Jesus at Mary's breast and under Joseph's protection is God needing what we are and what we have to give.

God needs us. Not because God is weak but because God is love and love needs to be in relationship with others ...

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