Friends, I recently heard an Advent prayer that has a striking line in it, describing Jesus’ birth. It said:
[Jesus], when the soles of your feet touch the ground,
… you become one of us, to be at one with us.
The image of God’s bare feet touching the earth is such an evocative one.
Especially at this time of year, we know only too well what it feels like to do the ‘great Aussie dance’ across a hot beach or prickly lawn!
But of course, this image is far more than a physical reminder.
For Christmas is the divinity of God born into our humanity.
Through the Incarnation, God comes to us, withholding nothing of himself from us.
Barefooted—taking on our flesh, our human condition—in order to touch, and to be touched, in the particularities of our lives: this is Emmanuel—God with us.
Christmas is God placing an exclamation mark on his words, ‘I am with you!’
Our God, whose name is Jesus, has walked with us through the tough years of the pandemic and is touching the ground now where healing and renewal is needed.
The Son of God is walking through the streets of Ukraine and Myanmar, Ethiopia and Lebanon, with feet bloodied from war, conflict and repression, yet still taking the steps needed towards peace and liberation.
He has seen and felt both the joy of our existence and the suffering of those who are lost or vulnerable. He has awakened us to an attentiveness for our global humanity, and a care for our common home.
So I wonder if, this Christmas and for the year ahead, it is time to remove the ‘shoes’ that keep us from standing barefoot with Jesus—to feel the sacred ground of our lives with God?
Might we come before him ‘barefoot’ in our frailties, yet alive in the wonder of our humanity—made in his image—ready and willing to live as the people of God he has created us to be—fraternally, lovingly, caringly; generous, forgiving and hopeful.
May Jesus, the barefooted child of the living God, fill you and your loved ones with abundant joy and peace. Happy Christmas!