Sing it with me now: (insert corny 80’s Casio synthesizer melody here)
“God is watching us . . . God is watching us . . . God is watching us . . . from a distance”
Bull-pucky Betty! This is in fact the entire point of Christmas, it was not a distant event. It was in fact historically and geographically here. The great conspiracy of Christmas is that God is in reality no longer distant but IMMANUEL . . . God with us. He didn’t leave us to our darkness in the silent night, he didn’t leave us without peace on earth, he didn’t leave us and the 3 kings to figure it out amongst ourselves. The entire point of Advent is waiting for an arrival, He is not distant, He is present. Hope is here.
The Incarnation of Jesus is an invasion on a Kingdom scale. It was not to coo in a manger and soil his swaddling clothes, the baby came to take over completely and without rival. For unto us the child was born for this reason: “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:7) From that time on, the Incarnation started an invasion of the Divine and He has never left. He is not distant, He is not watching from a distance, He is here and Now ready to enter in the chaos of your silent night and infect it with blinding light.
Sorry Bette, the chords and words sound flowery and soothing, but in fact leave us with no hope in the now. The idea that the power and point of Christianity is for a place far away and a time far off in the future where we get to go to someday after we die is a lie of travesty proportions. This robs Christmas of a throne-taking baby. He didn’t come to be cute, He didn’t come to point to a future time, He came to take over now!
Aaaaaaaannndd . . . wait for it . . . we get to be a part of it! This is the ‘love your neighbor’ part. When we participate in the kind of life He designed, one filled with hope, unwavering love and service to our neighbors, we are enacting this ‘Kingdom come on earth as it IS in heaven’. Heaven came to earth in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and left with us all the keys to the Kingdom and access to the portals of heavenly power and freedom. We don’t have to wait anymore, Heaven is not a far off place we go to after we die, it’s a life we can live now. God is not watching us from a distance, He is indwelling within us NOW.
We have access now through the Son . . . don’t settle for anything less than fullness. Christmas is Kingdom Come, Hope is Kingdom Come all year long.
“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He longs for our presence. And he is inviting you and me to come home, to come home to where we belong, to come home to that for which we were created.” – Richard Foster