Advent4 & Christmas Day, 2014

We blew right past Advent4 into Christmas. Sorry about that. My 13 month old daughter has been giving us a real fresh reminder at night about what it was like a year ago when she was a newborn. Makes me think about this little guy, Jesus, whose birth we celebrate today.

Go, Jesus! Way to be born.

People take to churches, street corners, and social media to announce the birth. And, irresistibly, we inject the Easter stuff into the manger.[^2] “Christ was born to save,” we crow. That’s all fine.

But then again, Advent4 shows us Mary interpreting her own story. She’s given the news that she will bear a child for God and she busts out in this song. She shows us that her life isn’t solely determined by its utility as the God-bearer.[^3] She places her-self smack in the middle of a cosmic history spanning millennia. And look, I know there’s some salvific language in there, but I don’t know if she’s necessarily making a set in stone determination about who Jesus is going to be and what he’s going to do.

Maybe, ultimately, Jesus doesn’t get to be an end unto himself. His story is bigger than that. But there’s ample evidence throughout the scriptures that Jesus craved the ability to define his own narrative, one not set by empire, religious authority, family, his disciples, and ultimately even God.

Look, I know last week I was talking about how we have to look forward to Good Friday to get a full picture of what Advent and Christmas is about. But on Christmas Day that’s bunk. Whatever soteriology (theory of salvation) works for you or your tradition is all fine and good. But right now he’s just this little baby, you know? Mary and Joseph are too tired to think about the savior of a nation, I can tell you that. Can we put aside our narratives for a moment and dwell there with them?

Happy Jesus, everyone.