Yesterday, Christmas Eve, was the deadliest day in Richmond since New Year’s Day. Last night, I got the following text from my housemate:
“Don’t know if y’all saw the news or not but two people were killed and a 2 year old girl was abducted a few blocks [from] our house tonight. Be praying for our community tonight and throughout tomorrow as we reflect on what the birth of Christ and the hope of his return means.”
Later, I heard that there were three murders in the same day — a reminder that we humans are not the kind and simple species I like to imagine. I was so thankful that the sad news came with a charge to take Christmas more seriously.
If there were ever a Hallowed Hall, it was the stable in which Jesus was born. Amidst the chaos of an ancient Hebrew city — multiplied by the Roman census — God created room for His holy and audacious command: “peace on earth.”
This day is a tradition that exists to remind us that, with reckless abandon, the God of the universe “came and dwelt among us.” He spoke human language, followed human traditions and respected the full range of human experience: Contentment, excitement, trust, affection, doubt, betrayal, and loss.
Into such a world, this incarnation brought a peace and hope that allows us to give of ourselves and be satisfied.
When we follow a higher calling, the most simple human places become holy. I pray that this year we will hear the Christmas story and appreciate how absurd it sounds: A baby that is God, a new star in the sky, a mother that is a virgin, a stable that is a maternity ward, and a peace that surpasses human understanding.
That ancient city became an unlikely intersection, a place worth remembering, and the origin of a hope found in the person of Jesus Christ.