Wednesdays with Words: Golgotha and Bethlehem
If you check out my Wordless Wednesday picture which is only from the last week of our Yuletide Session activities – and know that it is only representative and not complete – you’ll see why I am using the same quote I used on Monday’s Daybook post.
Or perhaps you won’t. But I’m doing it anyway because I think this quote sums up for me a lot of what I’m contemplating in any spare time – the incarnation and what it really meant from Jesus’ perspective.
“He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but made himself nothing” Paul tells us in Philippians, and I think this quote does a great job of reminding us that the stable, the manger is just about as nothing as you can get. That the straw was not a nice story and a gentle padding, but what was at hand and could be used. That it was sharp and scratchy and part of the curse that Jesus was, by taking human form, coming to destroy.
“The whole of Christ’s life was a continual passion; other die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but the evening and the morning of one and the same day. From the creche to the cross is and inseparable line. Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter. It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death.”
John Donne in The Book of Uncommon Prayers as quoted in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie
He came to do the work and it involved all of His earthly life – from conception to acension – and none of it was comfortable.
During this Advent season – we look forward to the day when his coming won’t be pain, every tear will be wiped away, and there will be a trumpet in the clouds and no stabs in the stable. May the idea of incarnation be dear to us – but Jesus, himself, dearer.
It is entirely likely that there will be no Wednesday with Words next week. I haven’t decided yet, but I might be as utterly swamped with cooking and crafting as I have been with going and doing. I may show up if inspiration strikes, I just didn’t want anyone to be waiting … sorry for the lateness today!