Americans feel much more vulnerable at the end of this decade than they did at the beginning. That was the assessment of a panel on an early morning TV news show today.

Examples were numerous and convincing with the terror attacks of 2001 at the top. But there were others like the inability to accomplish military goals with sheer might, the quagmire of American politics, and the economic realities that interrupted our borrow-and-buy days of euphoria.

Vulnerability was also at play in the event we celebrate on Christmas Eve. A young mother, away from home and with few resources, gives birth to a baby whose very presence is a threat to power.

This unlikely entrance of the Divine into the world is met with confusion, uncertainty, and hostility as well as the heralds of angels and the shouts of joy.

A sense of vulnerability may not be as comforting as one of power, confidence and control. But it may allow us to better understand the message of the great occurrence that: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV)

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