In times of great change, upheaval and confusion, it is important to remember our origins, who we are and where we are going. It was a practice of many ancient people in biblical times and in Indigenous cultures to revisit and retell their stories of creation. We can be overwhelmed by many voices demanding our attention, telling us who we should be, how we should think and what we should do.
The celebration of the nativity invites us to remember God’s coming amongst us. The Creative Word made flesh, a child born to us, Jesus, reminds us where we come from, who we are and where we are going. All of creation has its origins in the Creator. We are created in the image and likeness of God and have an inherent dignity. We are destined for eternal communion with the living God.
However, our experience is not so clear cut. Our identity is not set by politics, philosophy, race, colour, gender, weight or age. Jesus restores our identity as a child of God. The Word was made flesh in Jesus. God with us is not far off and remote. Jesus’ restoration of humanity as children of God comes through vulnerability. The death of Jesus on a cross and his resurrection is both scandalous and madness for the experts in religion, philosophy and science. But for those who encounter the risen Jesus it is the experience of the excessive love of God revealed. God calls us by name and the Holy Spirit enables us to know God personally.
Jesus is moved to the depths of his being by the suffering He encounters. Every genuine encounter with Jesus brings some level of transformation to bodies, minds, hearts and relationships. The healing and forgiveness of Jesus is a game changer for many. There are those who resist, oppose and reject his words and actions people paralysed by fear, indifference, power and pride. But this does not dissuade Jesus from reaching out to them.
Let’s allow ourselves to be drawn to a personal encounter with Jesus reaching out to us in vulnerability from the crib or gazing with a fierce love upon us from the cross or the risen Christ breathing the Holy Spirit into us.
Fr Steve Fletcher MGL
Painted by Larrakia artist Tony ‘Duwun’ Lee