While pregnant, Mary began an 80 mile journey. She would have thought of the risks. Surely she pondered “what might happen to my baby?”
It would have been more comfortable to remain at home, out of sight from the shame-casters who loved to judge her unwed pregnancy. It would have been reasonable to think her “chosen-ness” granted her an exemption. But off they went to Bethlehem, carried by the faith of God’s promises and the demanded risks of Caesar. And “while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born” (Luke 2:6).
There’s really only one word that describes this finally week of Advent leading up to the remembrance of Jesus’ birth.
Mary’s vulnerability. The vulnerable baby. The vulnerability of God.
Vulnerability isn’t something we readily assign to God. Almighty, yes, but vulnerable seems so anemic. But yet, God introduces himself to the world as exactly that, vulnerable. Vulnerable in birth and in death. God’s self-revelation is wrapped and revealed in vulnerability.
This reality should influence every pre-conceived thought we have about God. The Apostle Paul said it like this; “the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Cor. 1:25). And Paul wasn’t trying to say “God is soooo strong that at his weakest point he is stronger than humans.” Rather, Paul was clearly pointing to God’s choice to self-reveal in weakness. Vulnerable is how God wishes to be known.
I confess, I do not often seek God as vulnerable. Most often my prayers seek for increased sufficiency, strength, and opportunity. I don’t think I have ever yet prayed, “God make me more vulnerable.” Perhaps that will become my prayer for the new year. God, make me more like you; vulnerable.
I suppose when I think about it, holiness is lived-out vulnerability. Meekness, gentleness, humility…such are the fruits of vulnerability. And of course love is vulnerable. Without the vulnerabilities of love…we wouldn’t know God. To say that “God is love” is to say “God is vulnerable.”
This Christmas I am seeking the gift of vulnerablity. To become more available. Transparent. To practice more love. Holiness. Confession. I want know the vulnerable God.