What if God Was One of Us?

By Bonnie Donily

Some of the most interesting discussions can be overhead from the backseat of a minivan. Sometimes parents are even invited to contribute. The other day as we were on our way to our Sunday School Christmas concert practice, my ears perked up at the conversation that was going on behind me. Gil had taken that moment to educate his brothers about what mammals were.

"We're mammals, aren't we, Mom?" Gil called for confirmation. Tim, who was in Christmas concert mode and not quite following the conversation, gave the two of us a confused look when I confirmed Gil's statement. The confusion became obvious to us when he protested, "But I thought we were shepherds!"

Gil responded by telling Tim that people were mammals. But Tim wasn't leaving Christmas concert mode that easily. "So are shepherds mammals?" he queried. In the qualitative style of a scientist, he then proceeded through the entire cast of nativity characters, asking if each one in turn were also a mammal. Yes, sheep were mammals. Camels, too. No, not angels. And then came the inevitable question.

"So is Jesus a mammal?" By this time Tim was enjoying his goofy repartee immensely. But when Gil answered Tim by saying, "No, Jesus wasn't a mammal. He's God," I had to gently correct our little theologian. Yes, Jesus is God, but when He was a man on earth, He was a mammal, too.

What parent on their way to a Sunday School Christmas concert could pass up a teaching moment like that? I explained to the boys that the whole reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus came down from heaven and became a man and that even though He is God, He knows what's it's like to be a human being, too.

The boys gave me their token attention, and then digressed into what the difference was between mammals and birds. Gil's qualification, which for some unknown reason involved the number of times a day a bird goes "poop", had me making a mental note to spend more time on Science after Christmas.

As Gil continued to "educate" his younger brothers, I marveled at how easy it is for the little ones to believe. In their childlike way, they have faith to accept that Jesus, who is God, was also once a man. By that same token, it is sometimes impossible for adults to acknowledge the same fact.

Whether it's Jesus or Santa Claus, Adam and Eve or the Big Bang, everyone wants to believe in something. And when you think about it, the whole idea of Jesus being born a child of poverty in a stable, the humblest of births, makes perfect sense.

God made His Son accessible to everyone by making Him a human who could relate to everyone. He celebrates our joys, weeps over our sorrows, and empathizes with our struggles and pain. Most important, he loves us so much he gave his life so we could be forgiven of our sins and re-united with our Heavenly Father. Truly Jesus is Emmanuel, which literally means, "God with us". Open your heart to His love, and you will enter into the amazing joy of Christmas - every day of the year.

Bonnie Donily enjoys reading, writing, and reliving her childhood through the eyes of her three sons with whom she and her husband live with in Vermilion, Alberta. You can contact her at bdonily@telus.net

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