Christmas time is about reflecting on the gift of new life and restored relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. It is also about traditions and revisiting family ties. As I’m always about looking at things in a different light, I thought of what I could write that would include all these things. We all know that Jesus was 100% God AND 100% human. So, I revisited some of my studies to “read between the lines” of scripture in order to discover some ways He might have behaved more… humanly. This year, I would like to take you all on a small literary journey to a place where the life that Christ lived on this earth and my life intersects:
In my studies on His extraordinary life, I have recognized many similarities. For instance, just like me, I just bet that Jesus left the door open and was asked by some uh, family member person, “Hey boy! Were you born in a barn?” Now on the many, many occasions this happened to me, I could only shrug and go back and shut the door. Jesus is the only guy I’ve ever heard of that could have answered truthfully the way I always wanted to: “Why yes, Uncle (family member person), yes, I was, in fact, born in a barn.”
Jesus grew up, probably, helping his step-dad do carpentry work. I, too, had a step-dad, whom I (helped) do carpentry work. Whilst thinking about this, something became crystal clear. Who knew that the reason all these people say Jesus’ name when they get frustrated about something, actually came from Joseph of Nazareth while Jesus was trying to help him. The way I figure it, screwing up is different than sinning. I think I know how Jesus might have felt when he sawed the wrong board. My dad, like Jesus’ dad, used my name in vain a lot in those times. I figure, the only reason Jesus’ name stuck and mine hasn’t is because, well, He walked on water. I’ve never walked on water. But I did talk one of the neighbor kids into trying it out on a huge mud puddle in his new sneakers after I had prayed for him (since my dad was a preacher, my prayers would really take). I’m not quite sure why it didn’t work. But when his mother saw his shoes, she used my name AND Jesus’ name in vain.
One of the more glaring commonalities that young Jesus and I share is a different kind of name. When I was a kid, I was the only “Aubrey” anyone knew of in my school, neighborhood, or church. I was named after my Grandaddy Crawford. I have often thought it strange that Jesus must have had a Latin American uncle in his family tree… What were our moms thinking???
Jesus and I both did some crazy stuff. We both ran away when we were 12. Only when the cops brought me home I forgot to say that I was being about my father’s business. I still don’t get why he didn’t get a tanning for that one. But, the preachers looked at him in amazement when he was talking to them at the temple on that little excursion. And that is something we definitely have in common. I had talks with many preachers when I was 12, and from what I’ve seen, the facial expressions for amazement and befuddlement are purt’ near the same.
One more anecdote, and then you may return to your dull and dreary traditional Christmas ideas. Jesus was a rather easy-going fellow for the most part, unless someone crossed him the wrong way. He tore into some ol’ boys at church one time with a whip because they were being highly disrespectful. As a product of the Deep South, I can appreciate that strain of indignation. I wasn’t at church, but youth camp (which is the same thing if you’re Pentecostal). I was in the pool house minding my own business when I saw a packet of bubble gum on the bench. No one was there to claim it, so, as the rule goes, finder’s keeper’s. It belonged to three boys in my dorm. Apparently, they had gone in together on this pack and were planning on selling the pieces in chapel, where gum was forbidden. One of them saw me take it as he was walking out of the john (another bible dude-him and his brother James both had a potty mouth). He grabbed the other two and they came after me. When I saw them coming I stood there naked (I hadn’t put my suit on yet). All I could find to fight with was my belt… I drove them out of the pool house!! Just like Jesus!
In truth, the Bible says He was a man of no reputation, nothing extraordinary about his background, nothing striking about his appearance, very much like me. Yet, the thing that made him an extraordinary human being was his love for His Father and his compassion toward humanity. He led no revolt. He only taught of a Kingdom of the heart. He was obedient to the mission of reconciling the crown of His creation (humanity) to Himself and His Father. The fact that He allowed men to brutally murder him, the only sinless man that could complete this mission, is a testament to the man/God of peace that He is. May that “strain” of peace filter into each of your spirits, affecting your homes, and drawing you closer to the real Jesus, Immanuel.
GOD WITH US.