I live in a high and holy place, but also with [the one] who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
~ Isaiah 57:15
For over fifty Christmas seasons, this ornament has hung somewhere on our Christmas tree. As a child, I remember placing it on different lights just to see how the colors might reflect from within. As I did, I imagined what the star of Bethlehem must have really looked like. I suppose that this ornament was among the first things that represented Jesus' birth in my life. It was something that I could see, as well as, touch. It was something that as a child I could hold in my hands.
As an adult, I still see this ornament through the eyes of a child, but now I think more about what it means for Jesus to be the incarnation of God among us. It reminds me that God's journey in Jesus was both vulnerable and small. He was dependent upon those around him, just as I was as the child that once held this ornament and pondered what it must have been like to have been born in such an obscure place.
Years ago while working with the homeless on the streets of Houston, I was reminded time and time again that God exists among the poor, the hungry, those who are weak, powerless, and mentally ill.
Today I wonder how it is that we are called to know who God is when our focus is often elsewhere? Eight-second sound bytes, the next "Breaking News," headline, political unrest, as the rich seem to find ways to become richer, and children are separated and caged to protect our society.
I am reminded that our faithfulness depends on our willingness to be with those who are different than us, those who are broken, lonely, and are vulnerable.
In many ways, this small ornament that I treasured as a child, and now focus on as an adult, is the beginning of the journey of Christ within me. That as I searched my mind to understand who Jesus was as a child, I now search for ways to make him known in my life, and to share him with others. To live and to grow in belief, while seeking friendships where we can support one another in our journey to Christ together. In many ways, in order for us to grow, we must invite ourselves to stay close to the small, vulnerable child that lives in our hearts and within one another.
As I stare at this ornament, depicting the birth of Jesus, I realize that this image also exists within me. Christ is still a child within me. To this I can begin to speak these words, "Rejoice! Rejoice!"
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.