We have been waiting and waiting and waiting. That of course is what advent is all about—waiting for the Lord’s arrival. But now the wonder of Christmas has arrived. Of course, the problem with this is now that it is here, what will we do with this new reality.
Last week as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a link to a news article whose headline caught my attention.
To summarize—several years ago, there was a story out of the International Crane Foundation in Wisconsin about a rare female whooping crane named Tex. For some reason, Tex seemed to have an emotional attachment to male humans but not to male cranes. That was a problem, because Tex wouldn’t perform the usual crane mating dance with a male crane, and the birds must dance to become excited enough to produce an egg that will hatch. And having new chicks was important because whooping cranes are endangered.
Over the years, Tex’s keepers at the foundation had managed get Tex to lay several eggs by means of artificial insemination, but none of them hatched. So finally, they tried another approach. They used artificial insemination again to impregnate Tex, but this time, the foundation’s director George Archibald, to whom Tex was strongly attracted, moved into the pen with her, and in a way, became a crane—a human “incarnated” as a crane. Several times a day for six weeks, Archibald and Tex did the mating dance together. And eventually Tex produced an egg that hatched, producing a live chick.
Archibald taught Tex how to be the crane she was meant to be.
God sent His only son to do a similar but eternally more important thing.
By coming to earth, Jesus Christ taught humanity how to be the people God wants us to be. As Immanuel, God with us, we have been given a model of how to live so that we will indeed live a life worthy of our calling as the followers of the one true God.
I think Howard Thurman, an African American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader shares this very thought in his classic poem, “The Work of Christmas.”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Merry Christmas to all.