The Christmas season is at an end as I write this, so I thought I’d take a moment to share one mystery of the season that I have found meaningful this year. If our faith tradition claims that God comes to us in the form of a baby, then what we are saying is that God comes to us as the most vulnerable among us. And this idea makes me wonder how our faith is shaped around a vulnerable God. Do we then see God in the most vulnerable around us? Do we see God as one we need care for even as we need care? If so, what would that look like?
I am awed by the possibilities that our faith story begins with a baby. Babies cannot care for themselves in any way. It takes all of us to help them grow, learn, and develop. Yes, some of their growth will happen despite our mistakes, but babies cannot thrive apparent from being nurtured in a loving, tender way. And in our faith story, we claim that this is God, the word made flesh.
I don’t know about you, but if God can be this vulnerable and in need of love, nurturing and human touch, then I am freed to be vulnerable and need the same things.
Brené Brown, a research professor in Social Work at the University of Houston, has defined vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” This definition feels accurate and resonates, I believe, with our Christmas story. Who is more at risk than a baby? Who needs emotional care more than a baby?
What is the pay-off of being vulnerable for us and for God? Without vulnerability we can neither love nor be loved. And for me, that is one of the main reasons to celebrate Christmas, to know that love has entered our world, to know that we are loved, to know that we are able to love and to know that love is God with us.
Rev. Mary Wilson is pastor of Church of the Savior in Cedar Park.