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Choosing Vulnerability

Wendy Lehnertz of Fuller Southwest reflects on the model of vulnerability Jesus offers us through his humble birth.

Lumpkin - bench

Photo by Matt Lumpkin (MDiv ’11)

As a wife and mother, as well as a marriage and family therapist, I am always intrigued by that which can prompt our vulnerabilities; that which can strip away our “hard candy coating” of self protection. The Lord taught me long ago that without vulnerability I cannot truly love or be loved.

This Advent, I reflect on how our Almighty God chose not only to become flesh, to live among us and sacrifice himself for our sins . . . he chose to begin that process by being born a babe. He was born in one of the most vulnerable states he could have. My Redeemer came to bear my burdens, bear my sins, to love me with the ultimate price paid . . . and he chose to start from a place of complete vulnerability.

This humbles me. This reminds me how to choose vulnerability and in doing so, I am more able to extend and receive the love he intended. I am able to trust that I will be okay if I sacrifice my “power,” my “human rights,” to release my own agenda and bear the burdens of others. It seems to be no coincidence that the atmosphere we most associate with Christmas is that of joy, generosity, love, homecoming, and dare I say, vulnerability.

The first gift Jesus gave to me was himself, wrapped in a swaddle of cloth, resting in a manger. This example of being born vulnerable prompts me to want to gift back to my Savior my innermost being. I couldn’t possibly buy the gift I want to give him but it does come at a great cost. I want to give him myself—all of me—and pray that in doing so, I truly love those around me.

May I love as you love, my Lord.