Last month deputy editor Sam Hailes delivered a magnificent reflection on Emmanuel, ‘God With Us’. At the risk of sounding like a copycat, I’m going to do the same, but by pointing you in the direction of an online video that was released in the run-up to Christmas Day.
He Came Down is a four-minute feature produced by evangelist Glen Scrivener and centres on a mother’s story of how she came to terms with her daughter being born with Down’s syndrome. She describes how fear turned to faith as God taught her more than she could have imagined through Leeva, her daughter. Her testimony is interspersed with a nativity play acted by children with special needs.
The story is narrated through a simple poem telling the story of God’s incarnation: “He came to our darkness from heaven above, he stooped to the crib and the cross out of love. He shared in our weakness and meekness and mess, and still he embraced us nevertheless.”
The video can be viewed at speaklife.org.uk/HeCameDown but be warned: you will well-up. It’s a powerful and poignant production which will doubtless be used in many churches to bring home the message that God joined us in our messed-up world to turn the things we value upside down.
Watching it, I was instantly reminded of comedy actress Sally Phillips’ story of learning to see her own son, Olly, who has Down’s syndrome, as a blessing from God, an issue we’ve covered in the mag in previous months. In this edition she and fellow comedians Milton Jones and Paul Kerensa talk about how they put their comedy careers and Christian faith together (p28). During their conversation Sally recalls Miranda Hart’s live show in which she told her audience from the stage: “‘You are fearfully and wonderfully made!’…You are acceptable. Doesn’t matter if you fart or fall over in the middle of the street… Take down your masks.”
Comedy is funniest and most profound when it reflects the ridiculousness of our lives back to us. That’s why we love sitcoms and observational humour. It’s about us. Christian faith is also at its most profound when it’s about us. God in Jesus Christ reflects both us and himself in a single life that shares our messy, ridiculous humanity. He Came Down ends with the words of a poem, “If you’re feeling rejected, excluded, a stranger…remember the one who came down to the manger.” Whether Christmas, January or any time in the rest of the year, that message is one that every human being needs to hear.