Giving Birth to Christ in Our Time and Culture

By Arthur A.R. Nelson

CHICAGO, IL (December 25, 2010) – I’m thinking a lot today about Jesus.

I’m thinking past the barn and the feeding box and hard-breathing beasts. I’m thinking a bit about what Thomas Merton wrote: “Into the world, this demented inn, Christ comes uninvited.” Into such a world, then and now, he comes – despite us.

Thank God we do not have to earn his coming, we do not have to deserve his caring. And that reminds me of the one who was most surprised of all at the generous, mysterious love of God.

Mary was never asked if she would like to be the mother of God, or even if she would like to try out for the role. God had decided to surrender to flesh and blood, but needed her help, needed her surrender as well in order to carry out the plan. God in his grace asked her to smuggle him into the world in her body, and she wouldn’t let fear stop her.

I am wondering if Mary is “full of grace” as the scripture reminds. And if the Creator gave birth to his Son in one of our towns, what difference does it make? For me, saved and nourished by extravagant grace also, I guess it means I ought to “give birth to him” in my time and my culture.

So, greetings, favored ones! The Lord is with you, too. Do not be afraid. In fact, this glorious day celebrates the wonder of being liberated from all the distractions of this “demented inn.” Christ is born today. Now and always, God is with us.

Editor’s note: Arthur A.R. Nelson serves as parish associate in Winnetka, Illinois.

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