Madeline Shelton is a middler in the M.Div. program and comes to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Texas.
In our reading for this eleventh day of Christmas, Christ heals a man who was born blind. Christ does not say a few words and instantly open the man's eyes. In fact, leaning down to the ground, Christ spits his very own saliva onto the dirt and makes a paste with the mud. Once applied, Jesus orders the man to wash in a pool, and the man sees for the first time.
This healing story is a good reminder that the God who comes to us in the small fragile form of a baby at Christmas is the same God incarnate who heals us with his touch. Jesus is God amongst us, walking, talking, spitting, washing, and sending. The miracle and mystery of Jesus’ incarnation calls us to look at our own walking, talking, and spitting and see in it a pattern of loving interactions. Perhaps there’s not a lot there to love. Or perhaps we are blind to see God’s presence in this life because of overwhelming difficulties. It is then that Jesus – Emmanuel – God with us – calls us to himself, spreads some mud made with his own spit on our eyes, and sends us to wash in the pool. And we are able to see.