As God made flesh is born he sucks in His first breath and releases a cry into the darkness.
The cry of this newborn Jesus is the cry of God into the darkness and brokenness of our world. It is a cry that screams at the injustice, oppression and suffering of our wounded world. It is a cry that longs for the weak, vulnerable and downtrodden to know that God has not forgotten them. It is a cry that shares in the suffering of humanity. It is a cry that exposes how weak and vulnerable we are. And the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the One in and through whom all things find their being, shares in that weakness and vulnerability crying out into the darkness and cold of that first Christmas night.
Jesus is born into the danger of an unforgiving world, his life threatened from the moment He is conceived, from the moment He draws His first breath.
The stench of the stable filling his newborn nose nothing compared to the stench of the violence Herod would inflict upon the children of Bethlehem.
The splintered wood of the manger echoing the Cross that one day will hang off his back.
Songs of joy bursting forth in the Temple at the sight of this newborn King, in stark contrast to the violent jeers at this same now thorn-crowned King who stumbles through the streets of Jerusalem.
Angels declare the birth of the Saviour and will one day announce this Saviour’s resurrection.
The oppressed and abused shepherds hurry to this Saviour just for a glimpse, and they, like many after them, will spread the news of this God made flesh.
Foreign magicians carrying gifts, strangers to the promises of Israel, fall to their knees and worship Immanuel, God with us, just as lepers and prostitutes will fall in worship at the gift of new life they are given by God being with them.
And so this Christmas we celebrate that God is with us. We hear the cry once again of Jesus as a newborn, his cry on the Cross and his cry of resurrection victory and we, in hearing His cry, we can be assured that this God who is with us will heal the broken-hearted and bind up our wounds. We can have hope that He will transform the stench of violence into the fragrance of peace that covers the whole earth. We can celebrate that this God made flesh has the victory over sin and death and is ushering in a new dawn when all will be well.
This victorious God is the one who lies weak and vulnerable in the manger and on the cross. And this God calls us once again to himself this Christmas to follow him. To follow Him is to be like Him, not seeking power and fame, but to be weak and vulnerable as He, surrendered to His will. It is a calling to share our lives together, vulnerable and honest. It is a calling to go to the oppressed and outcasts, the stranger and the outsider with the love of God. And just as the angels declared His birth and resurrection, so we go and invite others to know this God made flesh for themselves.
God cries out once again this Christmas beckoning the world to Himself. May we together join with His cry of salvation to this world that was made by Him.