A Baby. A Manger. Our Continued Stupidity.

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Left to deliver humanity’s solution, a unwed, fourteen year old Miriam pushes and strains to relieve the weight of her conscience. A small fire dances off her furrowed brow as the crisp, shriek of an infant cuts the stench of sleeping animals. Quickly she wraps little, desperate cries in rags before pressing quivering lips to her breast to suck.  Yet something is not normal as Miram’s wide, brown eyes capture the glow of a star stream.  The night sky is aflight with wings, singing, and… Angels! Yes!! Angels!!! Armies of choirs and music thicken the air that tremble her bones as her newborn warms and feeds as one again with her.

In five days, those pushed to the margins will still to just survive by whatever strips of life they can grab in hope of adding some normalcy to a life far removed from you and I. Oppression is the very hand that pushes the “great unwashed” to the half-lit caves of society.  The sub-existence of a life truly loved by neighbor scrapes by in both the physical and mental realms of forced martyrdom. Yes, in five shopping days churches will gorge on unworthy amounts of praise and monies by some that darken their doors but twice a year. Money for a priest’s three-bedroom house, or a ridiculous addition to the a McMansion of the likes of Joel Osteen, or bonuses for the talented but truly ‘passionate’ motivational ring leaders providing amid streaming confetti-like snow and a wondrous, laser-light show.  Quietly money will find its usual course to some promised charity while other towards legal fees intent on “settling” and silencing their latest sexual or financial scandal.  Money will find hidden pockets and obscurity and before suburban streets are adorned green and tan by orphaned fir trees amid strewn cardboard boxes. Aaaaahhhh, the magic of consumeri…..Christmas!

Maybe you have another word other than stupidity-  if so, please insert here _______.  At what point does the ‘faithful’ grow up and begin wondering what took place 2000 years ago during the virgin birth of an unwed mother.  You know we have a word for that… More importantly, outside the colossal, bureaucratic, orthodox governance or entrepreneurial marketing grabs of soul-selling Christianity, the curious outsider must wonder if the ‘faithful’ ever dared their vanity enough to lose their faith in order to find that reason spoken to Miriam?  Has a priest or pastor ever lifted their voice against the comforts of job security to stop this deliberate anesthetic-doping of Christian movement gobbled up by our pill-popping, consumers?

That first shriek of a shivering infant will end with a painful, final gasp of an innocent life of the man called Jesus. Consider that cost and our opportunity to partake and explore the humanity of this man. Imagine if we missed this coming Sunday and hand-delivered our biannual contribution to a local mission?  Maybe, for once in our adult ‘journey’ we will come just a bit closer to understanding why an impoverished birth crowded the sky with undefined awe and otherworldly wonder.  Instead of the same old, same old overfeeding the wealth management staples of ‘Christianity’ how about doing something one of Christ’s disciples would do by seeking their brother, their master, their Lord, in the lonely and forgotten?  Imagine that.

Maybe that other word is “surreal”… Seriously, who are we fooling? Certainly not Jesus.

Run to Him for He is cold, He is hungry, He is naked, He is sick, He is poor, He is in prison, He has a single mom, He has been wrongfully accused and shamed because who we say He is…yet when you find Him you will find an immeasurable kind of love that explains why He came, why He died, and why we no longer need to fear oppression.

Emmanuel.

Chris

 

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What Child is This?

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What child is this?
Wrapped in strips of poverty? Comforted only by the warm breast of his mother. The cold silence returns after the echoes from heavenly choirs fade. Left is the quiet crackle of a small fire, anxious looks, and muffled conversation. What need has entered our history, our country, our community, our family, our very personal life?

Why this child?
Why is God among us? A mother’s secret warms her miracle. A husband’s dream lingers in both confidence and doubt.

How?!!! His faith, his awe, his love for wife and God quiets his slippery doubt.

When will this given son save us?

The what, how, why, and when God steps out through the in door of time confronts our sanity with an unexpected offer of security. A security that conquers fear by fearlessness, hate by loving those we love the least, loneliness through charitable sacrifice, and peace through inescapable monologues of prayer. The chance to adopt this child within ourselves is presented to us in every second, of every minute, of every day. If the eyes are the windows to the soul then what do you see staring into the eyes of baby Emmanuel?

O Come Emmanuel

Gazing into the eyes,
God’s impossible promise has begun,
Needful, cold, and crying,
A virgin nurses a begotten son.

O come Emmanuel,
My soul cries out what I cannot fathom,
Do I need a Savior?
A man born to die for such a ransom…

O come Emmanuel,
My desperate soul sings ever louder,
This love song warms my will,
Humility replaces the prouder.

O come Emmanuel!
I now know the first love I never knew,
Becoming this child,
Because of this One who makes all things new!

By Chris Clody
12/24/15

May this hope be born within – Merry Christmas!
His,
Chris

God Uninvited

 He arrived by prophecy yet not by invitation.  Although civilization marks time by His birth, many don’t give Him the time of day.  

Unwelcome and misunderstood by a world created through Him.  Incorruptible flesh born outside expected comforts and care.  The center of our cosmos and human history humbles all egos by a newborn’s cry.  Swaddled, vulnerable and completely dependent – He cries in the wilderness.  His cry is but a whisper, a passing sound of need in our spinning realities that give some pause while many ignore.  His love conquers an impossible mission while revealing the One that sent Him.  He reveals the One that completes our hearts and draws our soul if we but trust in child-like wonder of His presence.   He encourages all to put flesh to our charity so that our very words become love incarnate to neighbors in need of it. 

The spirit of Christmas is not simply of seasonal giving but rather a deep sense of awe of being profoundly loved… even to the point of redemption.    As Mary provided milk to the bread of mankind’s search for true life, Christmas awakens our hearts and opens our ears to embracing perfect love.  As we unwrap ourselves from the binds of distraction to experience God’s presence, make sure you step outside and listen for the echo of that faint cry in the chilly night air.

Emmanuel! Christ has come!

His Peace,

Chris

God Uninvited

Incarnation shivers,
In a newborn’s cry.
Exhausted travelers –
Warm a cave nearby.

Angels! Trumpets! Singing!
Fill the night-time sky.
Thunderstruck and trembling,
Shepherds wonder why.

God comes uninvited,
Despite the prophecies.
Redemption’s Living Bread,
Feed the few who believe.

Christmas begs the question,
“Do you hear His cry?”
What is your decision –
Accept or deny?

God’s invitation has no middle ground
Incarnate bears Love, perfect and profound.
His gift of faith sees  – as far as it can see,
Patiently awaits…  ‘neath your Christmas tree.

©2011 by Chris Clody 12/21/11

 

Emmanuel, “God with us,” is the true undertone of Christmas.  What does the “Spirit” of Christmas mean to you?

For more Christian encouragement check out my ebook by clicking the following link: Thoughts2Share