Heaven Comes Down
When most of us think of heaven, we think of someplace “up,” far away. When God thinks of heaven, God comes down—into a manger in Bethlehem, into our hearts, into our community and world. This Advent series we’ll look at the ways God brings heaven to us. We’ll be guided by the Old Testament prophets. And we’ll prepare our hearts to welcome the child who draws the world to God.
A Message from Pastor Jason
I was underwhelmed the first time I saw the Church of the Nativity. It is built on a cave, purportedly the one in which Mary bore the One who bore the universe. It’s old, cramped, dank—while it’s cool that Christians have worshiped there since the 300s, it’s really really old. Its worshipers are mostly Eastern Orthodox, whose dark icons and drab clerical wear and overwrought decoration didn’t appeal to me. The small door to the outside is terrific and the cramped mash of people heading to the spot of Christ’s birth is claustrophobia-inducing.
Then, I remember seeing her: an older woman speaking a language I didn’t understand. She threw herself on the stone floor of the Nativity, arms extended in prayer, and she kissed the place where, tradition has it, Christ was born. She kissed it over and over. This woman knows how to worship. I don’t know who she was or what country she came from. And it didn’t matter. She recognized Jesus.
This woman was bearing in her spirit the One whom Mary bore in her body. This is the heart of the incarnation. God kissed the earth and called it “salvation.” And that’s not just what brings us joy at Christmas. It’s what makes it worth getting out of the bed every single day of our lives.
Would you join me in the wild and foolish attempt to be as wild and foolish as a God who would conquer the world through an infant.