Christmas; December 25; John 1:1-18
Rabbi Elliott Kukla tells the story about a woman in his congregation who had a chronic brain condition. Most of the time she could function quiet normally, but sometimes, often in group settings, she would suddenly fall to the floor. People, of course, would rush immediately around her to try to help her back on her feet, sometimes before she was quite ready. She told the Rabbi, “I think people rush to help me up because they are so uncomfortable seeing an adult woman lying on the floor. But what I really need is for someone to get down on the ground with me.”
That is what Jesus has done for us. Although Jesus was the eternal word for all eternity, as today’s gospel says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Jesus did not remain in the glory of heaven but got down on the ground with us, was born of a human mother, died a human death. Jesus knew human joy and pain because it was his joy and pain.
So today we do not simply celebrate the beauty of a child being born in a manger. We celebrate a God who loves us enough to become one of us, a God who knows as we know what it is to love family and friends, a God who knows as we know what it is to be desolate and alone.
So we must never think that God is distant or removed from us. When we are happy, God shares in our joy. When life knocks us to the ground, when people do not understand us, when they reject us, when our relationships end, when our marriage fails, when our body is wracked with suffering, Jesus is not in heaven. He is next to us, on the floor with us, sharing our pain. And if Jesus is in fact that close to us, then there is always hope. For he who humbled himself to get down on the ground next us will certainly one day raise us up.