The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:10-12
I ran across one of those “video-memes” on social media the other day; so far this one had been viewed over ten million times. For the most part, the intention was positive, encouraging people to listen to their heart, to eschew naysayers, and simply do what makes them happy…
But there was also a message I found disturbing – particularly in a contemporary social landscape already fraught with dishonesty, posing, sound-bite presentations of self, “echo-chamber” conversations, and knee-jerk defensiveness; a world where genuine community seems to be at risk. Here’s what the meme advised: “Be careful who you open up to; very few people genuinely care about you, the rest are just curious or have hidden motives… not everyone deserves to know the real you.”
I’m sorry, but I disagree; cynicism and mistrust are only going to make things worse. What this world needs is more vulnerability, not less. This brings me to the message of Christmas, and the invitation Christ offers that we risk everything for one-another, that we bring nothing but our authentic selves into the Kingdom, that we trust, and that we love each other with the Jesus quality of love – a love that believes everyone really does deserve to know the real you.
God came to us in the most vulnerable way possible. As a newborn infant, Jesus had to rely on the divine light and goodness in Mary and Joseph, to care for him, and he grew up offering himself – unfettered by suspicion or cynicism – to absolutely everyone he encountered.
Jesus grew up offering himself – unfettered by suspicion or cynicism – to absolutely everyone he encountered.
This is the invitation of Christmas! Christmas is the invitation to not be afraid; it’s the invitation to trust; it’s the invitation to live! It’s the complete vulnerability of God; it’s the promise that opening up changes everything; it’s the conviction that we not only deserve to know one-another, but that we must.
Christmas is about living out of our hearts; exposed, vulnerable, trusting, hopeful. Like Jesus; because of Jesus; for Jesus; for the world.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.