During Advent we frequently sing “O, Come!” For us, the one who is coming is from God. It is someone who will make the world right. As the prophets put it, it is one who will do justice; that is, put the world back in right order and restore harmony between members of the human family and between us and the rest of creation. The coming one is from God but we believe that the one who comes is human. The agent, the prophet, the apostle who will come from God to set things right will have a face like ours, breathe our air and know our pain and suffering.
It is the appearance of that human face of God that we celebrate at Christmas. God has come in his Son to re-establish creation, to do a new thing with our world. We have heard his grand titles: Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. They sound overwhelming. Yet what God sends us at this time is a baby, an infant. Not grand or domineering, but weak, vulnerable, dependent and poor. That too is Christmas, to recognize God’s face in the infant who is to set things right with us. Perhaps not exactly our idea of how to deal with our broken world. But this is God’s work and it usually is a surprise for us humans.
Christmas celebrates our God not as distant, out of touch but as close, as near. Yes, as near as a child can be to our cheek. Our task is to look at this God-sent child and see his face and ours mingled together in a bond that can never be broken. It is love that moved our God to gift us with his presence in human flesh; may it be love that moves our arms to embrace this love and feel the world begin to be transformed into its original beauty.