With us.

Jesus understands way more than we think he understands.

His earliest memories were of exile and travel and teasing, and stories of angels providing guidance and warning and glory.  His growing up memories are of having to wait to do the amazing work that he was called to do and simply doing hard work.

He’s human. Like us, for us. He’s divine, unlike us, for us.

When we talk with him about our messy lives, he doesn’t sit in a chair like a therapist saying, “Tell me more.” He doesn’t sit like a gossip saying, “I can’t wait to talk about this one.” He doesn’t stand like prosecuting attorney listing every tiny thing we’ve done wrong as evidence of a pattern of worthlessness.

Every one of those roles holds us at a distance, like an object.

Instead, Jesus sits like a faithful and experienced friend, unsurprised by anything, understanding of everything. When he says, “What about trying this”, it’s not without compassion. It’s with an understanding of the costs and the obedience.

And then he says, “Let’s go to God about that.”

And when we feel too far, to broken, too much of a failure, he stands up.

We see that he’s wearing the robes of a high priest, the one who represents people to God and God to people. The one who offers sacrifices to pay for wrongdoing, to make restitution, to satisfy the requirements of a holy God.

And just when we think he’s going to pick up a sacrifice, that maybe he’s going to pick us up as the sacrifice, he opens his hands and we see the nail holes.

He is the sacrifice. He is the one who has paid for wrongdoing, who has satisfied the requirements of a holy God.

He is the one who died and rose.

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Reflections from the readings for the first Sunday after Christmas day: Matthew 2:13-23 and Hebrews 2:10-18.