As was likely the case for many of you, I had several tasks to cross of my to-do list in those last days before Christmas. Some of those details were things one would expect to find on a pastor’s list the week before Christmas. But one task – making sure the light bulb by the cross in the sanctuary was changed – seemed like an odd one to make the cut. And yet, as I thought ahead to that sacred moment when the entire congregation would be singing “Silent Night” in the darkness, with only candles and the cross aglow, it seemed like an important task to complete.
With that in mind, it was a day or two later that I heard some rustling in the sanctuary. Checking it out, I found a group of guys with a ladder extending from floor to ceiling right next to the cross. Knowing what needed to be done, I knew what was going on. But taking a moment to look at the scene in front of me, I laughed at how silly it looked to have a ladder right next to the cross. Eventually, someone noticed me in the back and made a sarcastic remark about how with the ladder in place, Jesus would have a much easier time coming to earth from heaven above this Christmas. And not only that, this time, Jesus would land right in the midst of our worship on Christmas Eve!
In the moment, I laughed along with the others, but later, it made me think. Because the truth of Christmas is that, as ridiculous as it might seem, our almighty and ever-living God willingly descended from his throne to save us. In the act of Christ’s incarnation to us, we are given the promise that there is no place that the Christ child does not come to dwell. It’s not just church sanctuaries where Jesus comes, and it’s not just in those perfect moments that God comes to dwell with us on earth. Instead, it’s in the muck of everyday life – even in our brokenness and sin – that God comes down to us, taking on human flesh so that we might be reborn as children of God.
But what is even better news? God doesn’t wait for us to build our ladders up to heaven. We may have taken these weeks before Christmas to prepare the way for Jesus to come, but if God was looking for a perfect way to be made before Christ came to earth, we would be waiting for an eternity. So, out of love, our God made his own way to come to us, ready or not.
So wherever you find yourself this season, and regardless of if you find yourself in a church this Christmas, take a moment to look up. For God has come to you, and our hope for all creation has been born. Trusting that promise, get ready, for this good news is about to change us, and our world, into something new.