“No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John 1:18
It is dark, it is night, and a single remarkable star hangs in the sky over a singularly unremarkable stable in an off-the-beaten-path town called Bethlehem. Inside, a couple of weary travelers in town for Caesar’s census hover near their newborn infant. It is cold. Cows, sheep, their donkey, a few clucking chickens are their only company and source of heat. Like any couple following the birth of their first child, they are happy, nervous, and uncertain.
But this baby, this ordinary-looking baby who just minutes ago slipped into the world in the usual way, is not so ordinary. No one has ever seen God, but in this tiny, wrinkled newborn, we know God. In the child, and youth, and young man he will become, we know God. This Jesus, God’s only Son, will make his Father known in his person, in his life, in his teachings and example. And in a very special way, Jesus will make his Father known in his suffering, death, and resurrection. What we will come to know is that this God we have never seen is Love – not a sloppy sentimental love, but a love that is stronger than death.
Already in this little baby we get to know God, a God whose love is so great there was no hesitation to share our existence itself. From beginning to end our God wanted to share our lot with us. From beginning to end, from a human mother’s womb to a cold and lonely tomb, he wanted to share our lot with us. A humble God. What a marvelous mystery!
God of Christmas, I praise you with all my heart. Thank you for being with us then and now. Amen.