Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just a Little More...

Imagine for a moment that you are very powerful. Perhaps you run a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Perhaps you are the king of a small, weathy nation. Perhaps you are a great military general. Hundreds, thousands of people do as you say when you say. If you wish it, it is done.

Got the image in your mind?

What do you suppose your home life is like? Would you live in a large home, fully appointed with all of the best? Would you eat delicious foods prepared by a personal chef? Watch the latest movies in your state-of-the-art home theater? What comforts would become "necessities?" What things could you imagine you would never have to live without again?

I know that, for me, money often equals security. I am always thinking that if we had just a little more, then I could relax. I could stop worrying. I could give away more. I could affect great change in favor of the poor, the unrepresented, the lost. If I only had a little more money....

Imagine what I could do with a lot more, I tell myself.

But, lately, as I consider the Incarnation, I wonder about the choice God made when He took on human flesh. He could have come to earth in a blaze of glory, conquering armies with a swipe of His hand, and setting up in the most extravagant palace ever known.

He could have waited until our current digital age, first alerting the media, and ensuring that the 24-hour news cycle covered nothing but His coming for weeks on end. YouTube videos of the event would be passed around in a virulent email frenzy.

He could have made His coming about power and glory and greatness and worship and fear.

Instead, He was poor. Weak. A helpless infant born to ordinary parents, unable even to find adequate shelter for him.

Why make the choice He made? Why come quietly, in the dark night, into a time and place where word traveled slowly, painstakingly?

Why choose to be poor? A helpless child?

Why choose to be cold and uncomfortable? To enter into an existence which is hard, by any standards?

Perhaps the truth is that physical comfort is not all that important.

Perhaps physical comfort is what gets in the way of what is really important. I find myself wishing for just a little more, imagining that I will somehow garner security/peace/joy in an extra few dollars, or a family vacation, or ....

Perhaps I have all that I need, and then some. Perhaps I am not supposed to be seeking my own comfort, seeking just a little more and instead am supposed to be seeking to ensure that more people have just enough.

Imagine, again, the above scenario. You have money, power, and influence. You can change the world. By your word, you can make it so.

And, instead of glorifying yourself, you spent your time caring for the poor, the lost, the lonely, the sick, and the dying.

And, in the end, you were persecuted, tortured and killed for doing so.

And, still, your example meant nothing. Your birthday became an excuse for people to seek just a little more, to celebrate comfort over peace, to elevate self over others.


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