This reflection on Christmas occurred after Bono had just returned home, to Dublin, from a long tour with U2. On Christmas Eve Bono went to the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Jonathan Swift was dean. Apparently he was given a really poor seat, one obstructed by a pillar, making it even more difficult for him to keep his eyes open…but it was there that Christmas story struck him like never before. He writes:
“The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw a child I just thought: Wow! Just the poetry Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.
Isn’t it compelling? The logic and love of a personal God revealing himself, accounting for our personal-ity, our propencity to love. And oh, the mercy of God, born in shit and straw, to rescue us from ourselves, our godless gift-giving, and our arrogant disregard for God and for others so that we might know and enjoy him and his new creation forever. And that he, the infinite God, would do it in Christ, in time, in space, in confounding condescension to pivot the course of the entire creation project from despair, destruction, and dereliction to a hopeful, whole, and holy future.
Will you ponder the poetry of Christmas this year, the genius of the incarnation? What obstructions are in your path to dwelling on the vulnerable, inexhaustible power and love of God in Christ? Renounce them and rivet your attention on the Christ.
Excerpt taken from Bono: in conversation (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 124-5.