The Christmas Gift of Vulnerability
When I read the story of the birth of Jesus, I am astounded that the God of the Universe would become a baby. Why did God enter into our reality through the painful and vulnerable path of childbirth?
I held my wife’s hand four times during childbirth. Three times led to Rebecca, Jacob, and Micah. The fourth time was during a miscarriage. Childbirth is painful. And raising children brings all sorts of pain as we try to equip our children for adulthood in the midst of life’s challenges.
Why did God become one of us in this way? Why did he choose vulnerability and suffering over comfort and amenity?
Jesus could not take care of himself. He was completely dependent upon his new parents to take care of him, provide for him, and protect him from the challenges that would come for him.
Our God was born as a baby, surrounded by overwhelmed, ill-equipped parents, and placed in a feeding trough for animals. Not the scene you would expect for the arrival of the Son of God.
Christmas announces that the very character of God is revealed in a naked, needy, dependent, gurgling, smelly, sometimes joyful and sometimes grumpy, defenseless baby.
Maybe there is more to the story that is intended to be a great Christmas present for us.
Maybe God chose this path as a demonstration of His character, an example for us to follow, a picture of his love for us.
Maybe we can find the meaning of Christmas, as we open the wonderful Christmas gift of vulnerability.
Brene Brown describes vulnerability this way: Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of love. God entered our pain and mess because he loves us. He was born a child to be with us. He comes to us because we can’t come to him.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of belonging. We belong to God because he calls us his beloved children. When we are born again, we are born into a family of vulnerable love. We belong to a God who risks the pain and suffering of childbirth and of a cross because that is who this God is. He is love. He knew the risks. He knew the pain that would come his way, and He chose us anyway.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of joy. With the song of the Angels announcing the birth of Jesus, the good news of great joy was proclaimed. Joy. The longing of our hearts is freely given through the vulnerable birth of the Son of God.
Think about it, God is a vulnerable God. He could have come in so many other ways, but he chose this way because it is who he is. He revealed himself in his birth. He revealed himself in his death. Vulnerability is an invitation to a relationship.
For God so deeply loved us, the people of the world, that he made himself the most vulnerable, so we could understand that infinitely great love and draw close. (John 3:16, translated by Charis Dietz)
He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death… (Philippians 2:8 TPT)
God first loved us, so now we can follow his example in being vulnerable with one another.
But we are taught to keep it all together, to hide our tears, to pretend that it is all good. We see that life is a competition and only the strong and powerful win. We are told not to be vulnerable. We believe that vulnerability is a weakness.
Yet, the Christmas story teaches us that God follows a different path, and this path is one that we are also called to follow.
What if Christmas reminds us, in the celebration of the vulnerable One, that we should be vulnerable as well?
What if we follow in the footsteps of God, entering into the world of pain all around us, sharing who we really are, and find Jesus right in the middle of the pain. Then, by being vulnerable, we will experience love, belonging, and joy.
When we share the Christmas gift of vulnerability with those around us, our co-workers, our family, our friends, we open the door for them to experience what they are longing for: love, belonging, and joy.
Maybe the world would become a little more peaceful this Christmas if we all would share the gift of vulnerability with one another.
May we all experience his Kingdom coming, his will being done, in Columbus as it is in Heaven. Merry Christmas Columbus!