Our friend Carol was standing at the counter in her kitchen rolling out cookie dough for the hundreds of sugar cookies she’s baking for our church Christmas craft fair. Candy canes and stars, Christmas trees and angels-they quickly spread out over the counter as pan after pan came out of the oven.
The word in the kitchen was: you can have ONE since the rest are for Friday night.
As you might imagine, however, this warning did not discourage hopeful children from trolling back and forth through the kitchen, peering around the cook while she worked and offering comments and suggestions.
Possibly in an effort to secure another cookie or possibly just because he likes to comment on the world around him, Sam began a conversation with Carol about the shapes she was cutting out. After some discussion during which I was not paying much attention, my ears pricked up when I heard Sam ask: “Well, do you have a baby Jesus cookie cutter?”
Carol replied, “No . . .”
And Sam asked, “Why not?”
In preparation for a sermon series on the Apostles’ Creed I’ve been reading Alister McGrath’s little book I Believe: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed. I’ve been discussing some of the theological issues with a friend who’s reading along with me and, as a result, I’ve discovered that talking about God is like opening a can of really squirmy worms-everybody thought they believed pretty much the same but, turns out, we’re all different.
That was obvious when we started talking about Jesus. Who was he? Who is he? And, were they really trying to help when they created the clear-as-mud description “fully God, fully man?” Is he our brother or is he our master? Or both? Was he adopted or created? Who cares? And what about that whole conception issue?
There are books (and books and books) you can read on all these issues and more, but I guess for me it boils down to a relationship. This is the holy gift of God-come-to-earth: that we are finally (me and God, that is) able to communicate with some level of experiential understanding. God knows what it’s like to be me. For me, that’s the holy jumping-off point, the place from which my relationship with God can grow into so much more than God’s one-time redemptive effort on my behalf; it becomes something full of mystery and holiness, something that changes all the time as I get to know this God who lives in relationship with me.
So, while I checked online and did, in fact, find a baby Jesus cookie cutter (scroll the mouse over the cookie cutter-don’t you just want to pinch his little cheeks?), I think it’s probably best if we stick to bells and Santas in our cookie cutter collection because I don’t really think you can come up with a good cookie cutter Jesus, one that will look the same to everyone.
Truthfully, I don’t think I’d want to.
And, anyway, who’d want to eat baby Jesus?