The humanity of Jesus


This month, we celebrate the sacred birth in an animal shelter.

Why such a lowly place?

Our views about status miss the message, and we must wrap this birth in splendour – angel song, an unusual star, three kings coming to bow before the child.

The wrapping continues until Jesus is lost under layers of Christmas trees, gifts and bearded Santas.

So this Christmas, let us let go of all the decoration and spend some time in wonder at the ordinariness of the Word of God made flesh.

Jesus knew who he was but never used that knowledge for self-aggrandisement. He identified with all things ordinary.

Like us, Jesus enjoyed good food and the company of friends.

I think that if he had written a gospel, it could be called “The Gospel of Table” so often are meals mentioned.

We know very little about Jesus’ childhood. When he was 12, the age of maturity for a Jewish by, he left his patents to talk to some learned men.

The trouble was, he didn’t tell Joseph and Mary, and they were distraught, looking for their lost son.

Does that echo with some teenage incident in our lives?

Let’s look at other aspects of Jesus’ humanity,

Jesus got angry with stupid and selfish people.

Jesus wept when he learned that his friend Lazarus had died.

Jesus got tired. One time he was so exhausted he slept in the bottom of the boat during a storm.

Jesus experienced loneliness. He said, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” I don’t think he was talking about a pillow.

Through the Gospels we see growth in Jesus’ experience. He had told his disciples not to go into Samaria or the Pagan territories because his mission was to the lost tribes of Israel.

Later, he talked with women in both those areas, leading him to preach to the people.

I feel that Jesus achieved full maturity during his ‘agony in the garden.’ There, he accepted what was planned for him and did not try to defend himself

I grew up with the frequent reminder that Jesus died for my sins. I accepted that but also had the question, “Then why was he resurrected?’ There had to be something more important than me swearing at my sister.

Jesus gives us the answer as part of the experience. What is resurrected is always greater than what has died.

So this year, I will leave the tinsel and Christmas cake to be with the Word of God-made Flesh. I want to journey through his humanity and humility, from his humble birth to his presence here and now.

Do you feel a part of that?

Look closely. You may recognise his presence in you.

  • Joy Cowley is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, writer and retreat facilitator.
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