A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to explain the Trinity – Creator, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Since Christian theologians have been trying to do just that for centuries I could only give her my ideas. I started with an apple to illustrate. “Who we call Creator or God or Father/Mother/parent is like the skin on the apple,” I said. “God surrounds us, creates us, loves us. We are God’s children. The being we call Jesus is like the flesh of the apple, God with us in the flesh. God experiencing what it is like to be the child, the human that God has created. And God enabling us to experience God’s love in a way that we can relate to, learn from, accept, and emulate. Then the being we call Holy Spirit is God within us for God does dwell within us just as the seed dwells within the apple. At our creation when the sperm and egg come together the third element is God’s Spirit. With our creation God is born within us just as God was born within the humanity of Jesus. That Spirit of God grew in wisdom as Jesus body grew in stature. God’s Spirit grew in Jesus and walked among us experiencing humanity, living and teaching and loving.” Just as skin, flesh, seed are all apple, so Creator/Jesus/Spirit are all God. That was my best explanation.
It’s Christmas Eve and once again we celebrate Jesus, the wonder of God coming to be with us in human flesh. That is mystery and yet the God as the human Jesus makes such a difference in our ability to understand. This morning one of my books of reflection offered a prayer written by William Barclay many years ago. I have adapted it to fill my need for a Christmas prayer today.
We thank you that in Jesus you wore our human body so that we can value our own bodies. In Jesus the human body was your dwelling-place. Our bodies are your dwelling-place today.
We thank you that in Jesus you experienced the trauma of the birth canal, the joy of beginning life, the wonder of childhood. As we care for and love our children we know that your Holy Spirit is growing within them.
We thank you that in Jesus you did a day’s work like today’s working men and women. In Jesus you knew the joys and difficulties of living in a family, of serving the public. In Jesus you faced the responsibility of earning a living. In Jesus you clothed each everyday common task with your glory. Help us remember that always.
We thank you that in Jesus you shared in our happy social occasions – weddings, dinner with friends & family and more. In Jesus you are the unseen presence at our every meal, a guest in our home and at our parties.
We thank you that in Jesus you experienced human friendship. You know its joys and disappointments. In Jesus you knew the pain of grief when your friend Lazarus died. We can never be alone for you understand.
We thank you that in Jesus you experienced the pain of unfair criticism, prejudice and deliberate misunderstanding. You cry with us for you understand our pain.
We thank you today, as we celebrate Jesus’ birth, that whatever happens to us, in Jesus you have been there before us and share in our grief and joy. Like Jesus, as your children you love us unconditionally, your forgiveness and mercy is always with us. In Jesus your love was not defeated. You endured the worst we could do and still loved us. In Jesus you conquered death and offer us the same gift.
Even as we live through the Covid 19 pandemic you are with us, loving us, enabling us to live your love. We are truly blessed. Thank you God. Amen