Tonight we begin the 12-day celebration of the Incarnation: Christmastide! I hope you’ll be able to join us this afternoon at 4pm for a joint Christmas Eve service with Spirit of Joy.
It’s easy to blithely affirm the fact that “God became flesh,” but if we open our hearts to the reality of the Incarnation, it will open up to reveal a deep and wonderful mystery. A mystery the depths of which we will never fully plumb.
To help us see this mystery, consider this:
While we exert ourselves to grow beyond our humanity, to leave the human behind us, God becomes human.Dietrich Bonhoeffer
In the midst of a world hell-bent on transcending the earthly, seeking to augment reality and escape embodiment, our God moves in the opposite direction and becomes human.
To use a lovely phrase my friend Kenneth Tanner uses often, “Our God becomes what he loves, becomes that which in the beginning he declared good.” Our God becomes flesh and blood through the flesh of Mary, the first disciple, forever joining himself to us.
And in his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ transforms death into the very means by which we share in his resurrection and ascension. So now as we follow Jesus into death (and weakness and vulnerability), we find it to be the doorway to real life as the God who remains human for all time touches and embraces and heals our corrupted and sinful flesh, making us participants in divine life.
So, church, we need not escape or augment our humanity. Rather, we embrace weakness, vulnerability, and death so that we can become truly human as God is human in Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary.
May your heart thrill with joy as you contemplate the light of Jesus Christ this Christmastide, the God who is with us and for us, forever human.
Grace and peace,