It’s a Wonderful Life
So begins this Sunday’s “Sequence Hymn,” the hymn we will sing just before the reading of the Gospel. After three weeks of hearing seemingly “un-Christmassy” Scripture lessons about repentance and the end of time, this Sunday we turn at last toward the story at the very heart of Christianity: the Incarnation, the “en-fleshment” of God.
For reasons we cannot understand fully this side of the grave, two thousand years ago God chose to enter in to our life and experience as an infant born to a human mother and her husband. Put another way, God chose to partner with us for the fulfillment of “God’s design.” I invite you to pause for a moment to let the magnitude of that central faith claim sink in: God chose to partner with us. What does that suggest about the essential goodness and nobility of humankind? Not perfection, mind you – Lord knows that we are far from perfect. Yet clearly God saw something in us that we perhaps could not see ourselves. God looked with the eyes of love and compassion. God saw potential. And God invested God’s very self…in us.
But, as we know, the story does not end there. Thanks be to God! Just as God invited Mary and Joseph into a partnership and entrusted them with the most precious gift the world has ever known, so, too, does God invite us to participate in God’s holy purposes, here and now. The work that God began with a scared young girl and her faithful (albeit confused) spouse continues in you and me. We have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to help fulfill “our gracious God’s design” in our own day. As Episcopal priest and noted spiritual writer Martin Smith puts it, “God sets us free from the burdens of the past by summoning us to be co-creators of [God’s] future.”
Imagine: we are summoned to be co-creators of God’s future. Talk about a job description! If that does not give meaning and purpose to our daily lives, I do not know what does. As we prepare in the coming days to celebrate God’s Incarnation, we join with Christians around the world and across the millennia in rejoicing that God has chosen to partner with us to co-create an even better, more glorious future. It truly is a wonderful life.
Wishing you every blessing at Christmas, and always,