No lack of effort

God certainly tries hard! Over the ages he has used every way possible to be heard and understood. There is a debate about whether God can be “seen” in nature – if you go for a walk in the next few days, you can test it out, and wonder if the order and goodness say something to you. Then there are the Patriarchs: God’s work with people starts with some rugged individuals – Abraham, leaving the world he knew for a promise, then Isaac and wily Jacob.

Moses forms a nation as he leads slaves out of Egypt – not for the last time God says something about setting people free – and gives them a Covenant, to direct their relationship with God. Sacrifices and festivals help to shape their character. Some don’t respond to that, so there are prophets. Some (Isaiah, Nathan) work within the system; others (Amos, Jeremiah) are radical dissidents – but all speak for God to guide and correct.

So give God credit. Through the events of history, through a variety of people (all sorts of people!), through the written word, through creation itself, God is communicating, trying to make himself understood.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son

Hebrews 1:1-2

That is what the New Testament reading for Christmas Day (Hebrews 1:1-4) is saying. God, the abstract absolute, becomes a human being in order to make himself more easily understood. But being the sort of God he is, does not arrive as Superman, but as a baby, vulnerable, needing the protection of those who care – at some cost to themselves. That tells us amazing things about God, and his desire to work with us, but leave us the freedom to choose.

And that is what we celebrate. Jesus, who communicates God not just when he grows up and tells us by parables and teaching, but by the way he arrives, the life he lives, the fact that he is content to live our life. He gives significance to every part of our life – work and rest, family, community. God communicates, not by shouting louder, but by removing every obstacle for those who want to hear. So celebrate now, but don’t stop listening.

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