Early lessons in water safety and life guarding: don’t put yourself in grave danger in an effort to save someone else. It is always better to reach for the victims or throw a life line than to swim out to them. I know several lifeguards who have ‘saved’ a drowning swimmer just by telling them to stand up. A life guard may have to swim out to someone in trouble, but the life guard takes great care not to let the drowning person overwhelm them in their panic. They approach from behind, preferably with a rescue buoy for the frightened swimmer to grab.
Christmas completely ignores this wisdom. In Christmas, we celebrate the Good News that the eternal Son of God became human. Jesus is not a warrior or hero or even a fit lifeguard. He became a week and utterly dependent baby. The Son of God just jumped into humanity in his birth, then swam into the dangerous deep-end at the cross. The Son of God rushes into the grave danger of the world.
Christmas celebrates God’s decision to join us with a reckless abandon. Not only is God for us, God is with us, in the dangerous mess of creation.