I often find it easier to be fake then it is to be real. And even when I’m trying to be “real” with someone, I often make whatever I’m talking about sound way better then it is. And I do this because I’m afraid of getting the wrong response. I am afraid of pity. And I’m simply afraid of what other people think.
I was listening to a podcast the other day (I’m learning I really love good podcasts) and the interviewer mentioned how she no longer likes Christmas because it has become something completely different then it is supposed to be. And the interviewee (a Jesuit priest) agreed.
They talked about how we try to make the birth of Jesus story into something pretty instead of what it actually was. If you really think about what was going on, it’s far from quiet, pretty or serene like we hear form the song “Silent Night.”
And the truth is, I think, we do this because the reality is too hard to swallow. It’s a part of our consumerist culture – just buy more and you will have a better life. Cover those blemishes up so no one will know you have them. Look at pornography and no one will know how you long for true love and intimacy. Keep consuming things you don’t want or need so you won’t deal with what is truly going on.
But what if we could look at things as they really are? What if we saw Jesus’ birth as truly humble and human, with all of the animal stink, loud noises of giving birth and hay and camels and pigs?
The reality of the story goes something like this: A young girl was pregnant with God and her fiancé was told by an angel to not divorce her because she really was a virgin…the Holy Spirit came over her and she was going to give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. And she gave birth to Him in a lowly place and the ruler of the time was jealous of the prophesies that the “King of Kings” was going to be born and he killed a bunch of newborn babies….completely innocent babies to cover his bases! And let’s not downplay the fact that God was born as a baby just like we are – nursing, peeing himself, needing someone to completely take care of him.
Let’s be real…this story is absolutely crazy. It’s completely nuts but somehow we believe it. And when I really think about it – I am amazed because God isn’t in the business of covering things up or making things look better then they are.
He’s completely aware of how screwed up things are and he decided to become completely a part of it with us. And I think when we are able to look at things with true eyes, we are able to see ourselves, others and ultimately God for what they actually are.
Jesus was born as we all are born, suffered as we all suffer and died as we all will one day die.
And he did this so that we wouldn’t have to pretend – he did this so we would stop trying to be something we aren’t like the Pharisees who tricked themselves and others into thinking they were “good” because of what they did.
Because the truth of the matter is we, all of us are full of humanness – with all of our shit, our jealousy, our desires to be the best, to be liked, to be loved. With all of our hope and failures, sicknesses and beauty.
And it is because of this humble, human and God birth, that we are able to live into this vulnerability – this freedom that we are human, we can’t escape that – but Jesus made it possible for us to live for more – not because we can be better, but because we are made perfect in Him. He makes it possible for us to live into who we truly are with all of our blemishes.
So let’s stop trying to fake it. Let’s stop trying to put bows on it and make it look better then it is. Because God came and saw us for what we are and still thought, YOU are worth it. You are beautiful and perfect and I have come so that you may live and live life to the fullest.