Christ. Walking in our shoes
With the notable exception of “Fairy-tale of New York” by the Pogues, I’m not a fan of Christmas songs.
I enjoy them about as much as I enjoy having my testicles run through a bacon slicer and then served back to me on small cracker biscuits.
So, it was with mixed feelings (and crossed legs) that I sat in the back of my local church last Sunday listening to “Oh come all ye faithful”.
None of this is a reflection on the song, the band or the church as others were there listening and singing with every sign of enjoyment and no other men were exhibiting the more obvious signs of testicular strangulation, to coin a nifty wee phrase that I hope may catch on.
No, the problem was (and is) with me.
I struggle with most of the Christmas songs the same way that I struggle with much of what is passed off as the Christian faith, in that it is sanitized, civilized, tame, structured and in my opinion, unrecognizable as having any resemblance to Jesus himself.
It staggers me that, if the Christmas story is correct and Jesus was indeed the Christ, his first taste of his being human was blood, guts, pain, causing a great deal of distress and suffering to his poor mother and screaming blue murder once he found his vocal abilities.
None of this “little Lord Jesus no crying he makes” for me. I’ve been at a few births and there was sod all that was peaceful and serene.
His birth wasn’t glamorous, his life wasn’t glamorous and his death was obnoxiously cruel, not just because of the pain but because he was suffering as an innocent man.
I was brought up in a church that painted a picture of Jesus devoid of any authentic humanity and I grew up with this image of Jesus as a white middle-class farmer who didn’t drink or smoke and wore a suit on Sundays.
What a crock. Jesus was not safe and civilised, he was a rebel, probably far more like Hone Harawira than John Key and where Hone called a certain group a bunch of white %^$#^&-%$#@&s, Jesus called a group of religious people something very similar and no less offensive.
Now I fully expect most of my readers will have little truck with this story of God becoming man, you will probably relegate it to just a nice old myth and a fantastic excuse for a few days off. I understand that and I personally have no opinion on what you believe or your worldview. That is your business.
But the Christmas story means a lot to me, more than you can probably start to imagine and while there are many aspects to what Christians call the incarnation, the one that resonates the most with me is that God decided to walk a few miles in human shoes.
I really get that. It shows empathy and a willingness to understand.
Rather than show us how to be divine, he showed us how to be fully human. He didn't come to change Gods mind about us. He came to change our minds about God. I love that.
And on top of that, he pissed off the proud religious pricks along the way. . Merry Christmas..