Invited to relationship

Daily Reading for January 2

The point of telling infancy stories about the one who was to die bravely and mightily rise is to remind us that we are invited to a relationship with the divine that is never built on force. It is built on vulnerability, intimacy, and complete trust.

This is not to reduce the Christian religion to a club for innocuous ne’er-do-wells whose integrity is fulfilled only when they fail or someone uses them for a doormat. Intimacy, trust, and vulnerability take lots of work. Christians must engage what is amiss in our culture, and do so nonviolently. Vulnerability requires courage. The starving and undereducated children of the world need our constant care. Liking babies requires sacrifice. . . .

The news at Christmas is that in vulnerability there can be community. In trust can be found the power of God. In simple honesty with ourselves about ourselves, grace can flourish. In swallowing pride and accepting forgiveness from God or one another, a new creation can take place. . . . What God wants from us before all else is love. The rest will follow.

From “Behind the Tinsel (Christmas)” in Messages in the Mall: Looking at Life in 600 Words or Less by Paul V. Marshall. Copyright © 2008. Seabury Books, an imprint of Church Publishing. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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