Reflections for the inner life.
What does it mean to be fully human?
On a day like today, there could be no more appropriate question. We can not celebrate the birth of Jesus without the awareness that for some reason, God took on human form. He came near to us.
Could it mean we are born vulnerably into circumstances we do not choose in order to rely on caregivers whose nurture we can not provide for ourselves?
Nashville based therapist and author, Chip Dodd, says, "We are born with the desperation of hope and the courage to cry out. Over time, the world beats both of these out of us."
To be human, then, demands a restoration of hope and heart.
I love the scene when the shepherds catch wind of the birth of Jesus. Luke's Gospel records their response beautifully. See if you can sense their hopeful hearts!
"Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing." —Luke 1:15-18
These humble Shepherds are among the very first to eyewitness the vulnerability of God so closely. They had been surveying the scriptures and the skyline for decades. What had been told by sages they now witnessed for themselves. "All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ —Matthew 1:22-23 NLT
So what does any of this teach us about being fully human?
Let's hear what 2015 Templeton Prize Laureate, Jean Vanier, says as he speaks on this Big Question: “What does it mean to be fully human?”