Alex MacGillis, author of The Cynic: The Political Education of Mitch McConnell was interviewed recently by Terry Gross of “Fresh Air.” MacGillis spoke of how McConnell’s prime goal became getting elected in the next election cycle. Decisions, policy, and votes on legislation were all gauged according to what impact they would have on getting elected in the next cycle. In MacGillis’ view, this was McConnell’s concern above all others.
For some Christians, faith is about getting into heaven. It is about gaining eternal life after you die to this life. It is about what will happen to you next after this life is over. For some, the reason for being a Christian is to secure your place in heaven for the next life. Decisions and behavior in this life are oriented toward earning a place in heaven in the after life. Whatever is needed will be done to ensure that you will be in heaven, not hell, in the next life.
I didn’t grow up with this kind of Christianity. So it is not natural or familiar to me. I have grown up and embraced a more incarnational expression of Christianity. Faith is about what we do in this life. It is about how to live a good life. It is about how to help fulfill God’s hopes and dreams for creation.
Christmas is a celebration of the integration of humanity and divinity. God in the flesh. Love embodied in humanity. It is about God present not just in one person but in every person, in all of creation, and in the midst of human history, tawdry as it may be. With the Christmas story there is no missing that birth is a matter of flesh and blood, here and now.
There are beautiful words in Psalm 27 that celebrate God’s presence in this world: “I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living.” Jesus shows us that goodness and how to see it in the world around us, in the people around us, in life, and within ourselves.
For reflection: How have you experienced the goodness of God? How is the goodness of God within you?
Prayer: Everywhere the goodness of God shines. May we see it in all that glitters from the sparkle of dew on a blade of grass, to the sheen of a star, to the glow of the moon, to the glimmer of a tear. May we so cultivate that goodness within ourselves that we glisten, even if just for a moment, now and then, with a spark of the divine and so bless this precious world. Amen.