Several years ago I attended a youth conference where I heard Mike Frost (of Small Boat Big Sea) speak for the first time. I remember little about the conference except playing chicken with the waves at Manly (I was knocked off my feet twice by big waves – bit of blood, lots of water) and hiring a little convertable sports car. And one significant talk by Mike. He spoke simply and powerfully about the wonder of God. The “wow”. I don’t mean the trendy penty “God is like, He is just so cool” kind of “wow”. Mike talked about the wonder that draws us irrisistibly, yet fearfully. He gave the analogy of the child seeing fireworks for the first time. Nothing could be more attractive, exciting, but also a bit scary.
Why am I reminiscing? I have been thinking about the Christmas story, and it has occured to me that as Christians we have been innoculated to some extent to the wonder of the story of Jesus. When was the last time you read the bible and marvelled over its contents? Spoke out loud your surprise. “He did that?”. He said what? How could fourteen (or so) year old Mary say to an angel – may everything you say come true, when told of her forthcoming divine pregnancy? It is as though we are spiritually desensitized. We have lost the “wow”. We have domesticated Jesus, and reduced the bible to a bunch of nice feel-good stories.
Christmas is so much more than the iconic images of the Christmas card. Unborn babies are filled with the Holy Spirit. Laws of nature for procreation are transcended. Ordinary people are visited by angelic beings. The arrival of God moving into the neighborhood of humanity is marked by the thin cry of a newborn. God connected to humanity by an umbilical cord.