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The Unexpected God

What is the god like?

(This is the question that has haunted us all along.)

Does it laugh? Does it cry? Does it care about humanity? Does it have a name, a face, a personality?

We all have a mental picture of “God”. For many of us he is kind, wise, and distant. A long, white beard flows from his wrinkled face. He watches over the whole earth, and keeps a list of right and wrong. He listens to our requests and every now and then, he rewards those who have been good and punishes those who are evil.

This god is essentially Santa Claus.

But, what if God was one of us?

If He was able to tear apart the fabric of time and space and become a human, what would He be like? If we could see Him in our world, sharing our experience… what would we see?

(This is where the story gets good.)

At Christmas, God became a human. His name was Jesus. He had a face and a personality.

And He was…. everything you wouldn’t expect a god to be.

He was born into oppression and poverty. He made a habit of angering religious leaders and avoiding political leaders. When he was asked burning philosophical questions, he answered with more questions. He broke the rules created by those who claimed to worship Him. Instead of courting the beautiful and famous and powerful, he befriended sinners and children. He was rebellious, subversive, and full of love.

You would expect a god to punish evil people and reward righteous people; Jesus redeemed the sinners and made the righteous uncomfortable. You would expect a god to demand worship, but Jesus was a servant. You would expect a god to destroy his enemies, but Jesus allowed his enemies to murder him.

When we see the face of Jesus, we’re looking at the very God we’ve all been searching for since the beginning.

A lot of times we think of Jesus as some sort of goodwill emissary sent from the Divine. But Jesus said that He was the God. And He showed us that He’s not at all like the gods we’ve imagined – selfish, petty, arrogant, distant. He’s not like Santa Claus – keeping a list of who’s naughty or nice. No, He’s something more profound, more humble, more raw, and more full of love than we could have ever expected.

 If God was one of us, we’d call Him Jesus.

He’d live at the edges of society, turn the world upside down, be murdered by an unholy alliance of religion and politics, and then slip away as quickly as He appeared. Most of all, He’d save us from our sin and invite us to be His friends.

This is the miracle of Christmas.

published December 23, 2012

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