I have spent the past 2 days with an 8-month-old in the house. She is my niece so I like her better than most 8-month-olds. And she seems to like me as well, as is apparent by her cooing, flapping of arms, and grabbing of my hair. As someone who admits to not being much of a baby person (okay, really not at all; give me a teenager any day of the week and we are tiiiight in no time), the interaction was somewhat surprising to me. Why do we get along so well? Because of who she is. She is blood. She is part of me in some way. I already like her, no matter what she does or how she turns out. She will always be liked by me. She doesn't have to do anything to get my love and attention, except be born into the family. And though this is the simplest concept in the world - that who someone is determines how we treat them much more than what they do - hardly anyone gets this, including me.
I consistently like people better that treat me well or have something to offer me when in fact, the ones that have trouble coming up with anything to contribute to my life (or society in general) and probably need the most love are often the ones I choose to neglect.
Jesus came as a baby, directly related to divinity and to humanity. You'd think that humankind would welcome one so intimately related, but the family, for the most part, turned out not to be so fond of the new relative. The blood tie, though usually a very strong element in the Jewish culture, turned out not to be strong enough. What he did was upsetting to many, and it overshadowed who he was. When you don't like God, there is not much you can do about it, but when you don't like your relatives, you can treat them with disrespect and shun them and hope that this is enough to make you feel better about the awkward situation and them bad about it. It never is, of course.
The bad treatment he received was not enough to offend either the human or the divine part of Jesus, because he was related by blood to all of these human beings and he already liked them. Oh that I could let the blood of Jesus run so thick in my veins so that who people are matters much more to me than what they do.
This was the warm and cheery family Christmas scene here in Winkler yesterday evening.