“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23)
“Excuse me, are you Bobby Quitain?”
Dressed in rugged shorts and tattered shirt, I looked up surprised to see a smiling wide-eyed woman excitingly cross the street to our house.
“Yes?”, I queried hesitating to offer my hand as I was sweating profusely after loading severall boxes of stuff to our car.
“I know you from the video…” she began as if groping for the right words to say, “I can’t believe you’re just my neighbor.”
“What video?”, I asked thinking maybe she mistook me for some horror movie character.
“I am sorry… my name is Ria. I was in Jakarta where I watched the Life in the Spirit on Video… You were the speaker… I live just across the street… I saw you and… I said to myself, ‘Could it be?’… I can’t believe…”
I can very well complete her last sentence.
She probably could not believe that the man on video who looked so dignified in front of the camera can look so ordinary. So ordinary in shorts. Sweating. Messy. Living in a worn-down apartment. Just across the street. So ordinarily ordinary, eh?
Now, ifi this woman possibly thought this of me (I say possibly because she may not have thought of this at all!), just imagine what thoughts raced through Mary’s mind when she saw the creator of the entire universe drooling mercilessly on her shirt.
I may have sounded irreverent. But it’s the only way to dramatize a rather uncomfortable truth: God became a human being just like you and me.
At one point in human history, He who was bigger than the cosmos, greater than the universe, more beautiful than all creation combined, has chosen to empty himself of his divine privileges and took on the painful drudgery of human existence.
Put yourself in Mary’s shoes (or sandals). These could have been her thoughts:
“Could it be that I just heard God burped?”; or
“Could it be that the maker of all the oceans in the world is taking a bath in my bathroom?”; or
“Could it be that I am cutting the nails of the hands that attached the stars in the sky?”; or
“Could it really be that an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God could look so ordinary?
I want to venture a guess. Those moments may have shaken Mary’s faith a bit. God coming so near. God becoming so real. God becoming too close for comfort.
That is also the reason why many people could not fathom this mystery. It’s too absurd. Too radical. Call it whatever you want but don’t call it a hoax.
Because if you don’t believe this truth, then you have no business celebrating Christmas. Because that’s what Christmas is all about. Not about toys or parties or some gift-giving man in red clothes. It is about God becoming ordinary so he can do the extraordinary — save us from sin…forever.
Mary kept her faith. May we all do the same!
Advance Merry Christmas to all!