Tuesday 25 December 2012

O boy, it’s Christmas

And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God observed them closely, these lovely creatures he had made, his masterwork, his image-bearers. God watched them reasoning and deliberating, laughing and weeping, falling asleep and falling in love, writing stories, building cities, inventing religions, feasting and drinking, making laws and making music and making love – and God loved it, loved all of it down to the last toenail and the last pubic hair.

And God said, Behold, let us go down among them and unite ourselves to them. Let us become like them in every way, just as they are in every way like us. For God wanted to show these image-bearers how closely they resembled him, how easily he could put them on like a familiar suit of clothes (and never take them off again: for so God loved them). Let us become bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh (said God), to show that human flesh and bone are not far from us but are our likeness, a perfect perambulating replica of our joy.

But what sort of human being should God become? That was a tough one. God inspected all the different stations and species of human life, trying each one affectionately, scrupulously, the way a person tries on many pairs of shoes to find the perfect fit.

Butchers and bakers and candlestick makers,
graphic designers and stolid bricklayers,
doctors and lawyers and unemployed surfers,
earnest young men and old women in burqas –

God saw them all and loved them. Each one of them was suitable. Any one of them would do fine. But somehow it was still not – quite – the thing God had in mind. God scratched his head, or would have, if God had had a head.

And then God spied them. A glorious little huddle of them. They were squatting in the dirt with dirty limbs and dirty faces, faces rapt as they hunted about for bugs, dug for worms, farted and belched and made agreeable little grunting noises. God watched them a long time, scrutinised them, sized them up and studied them from every angle, and God was very pleased, for this was just the thing. Yes, this would fit like a glove.

And so it was that grace was added to nature, creation was sanctified, the whirling worlds redeemed, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well and all that jazz. For it was on that day that God, the Lord, the master of the universe, became – a boy.

Merry Christmas.

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