The week began with Christ in a feeding trough. Subsequent meditations defied expectation and presented the life of Christ in an even less glamorous light. Mary is told of the sufferings she will undergo. The Holy Family flees to Egypt to escape the persecution of Herod. Jesus becomes separated from Mary and Joseph in order to preach in the Temple, bringing them great worry in the process. Jesus grows from a child to a man. These things do not seem particularly glorious or divine. However, they do seem remarkably human.
When we are told to think of God’s presence in the world, most will likely conjure up images of sunsets, children playing, an experience of great art, or something along those lines. But how often do we encounter experiences such as these that blow us away like the man watching a double rainbow? More often, life consists of ordinary tasks that would best be described as “drudgery.” Images of an infant laughing or smiling may delight, but then come the times when the infant cries or has a dirty diaper. In those moments, there is little glamour or glory.
Here lies the genius of the Incarnation: Jesus did not simply go through the awe-inspiring moments of life, but ran the full gamut of human experiences. God is not foreign to the experience of a soiled diaper, given that Jesus soiled a few in His day–each of which had to be changed by Mary or another relative. The experiences of annoyance at having to leave a familiar place, deal with the same problems day after day, or the challenges of family life are not opposed to someone experiencing God, as all of these are part of the experience of Jesus, the Son of God.
In the midst of all these experiences that are “human, all too human,” we can still see that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are all seeking to do the Father’s will. Such discernment is not only for the moments of glamour or glory, but the gritty and grimy ones as well. We see that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, and whatever we are experiencing, we may still seek God and discover His will. Praying back over the meditations from this week, hopefully we can see more clearly the ways in which God has come to us and entered into our own ordinary lives, and how we in turn can follow God and enter into His life in our ordinariness.