Christmas: Incarnation

LOVE.  Advent 4. “Leo ni leo!”  “Today is the day,” as we would say in Swahili.  The youngest child asks the father during the Passover meal, “Father, why is today special?”  For four weeks we have been waiting for not for Passover but for Christmas, preparing our hearts, preparing our homes, preparing our families and now we come to today.  Why is today THAT special?  Worship, gifts, food and fellowship partially answer but we turn to the gospel of John, chapter 1, for another perspective.

         John opens in verse 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.”  Our reality started with the Word speaking creation into being.  But we were not there.  Hence all the theories of creation, even the TV show, The Big Bang Theory.  Science can give us theories but science cannot prove, only postulate.  John continues and reminds us in verse 17 of chapter 1, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  From the Ten Commandments and Hammurabi through out history, all cultures have codes of behavior to regulate our lives together and to give us a moral compass.  But, it seems to me, we cannot even agree on the right way to treat our fellow person.  Political elections prove that.  So why is today special?

         I find the answer in the word “INCARNATION.”  Verse 18, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”  Incarnation is taking that which cannot be known but is perhaps experienced and giving it a form that our eyes can understand.  A cloud with a face blowing gives us a picture of wind.  A flag is an emblem signifying concepts of a country – the stars stand for the states.  If asked to draw a picture to symbolize God, we are hard pressed, because God is so far beyond us.  Incarnation, the babe in Bethlehem, is how Christians understand God chose to introduce himself to us.  The baby makes known to us the unknowable.

         Christmas testifies to us today that the sunrise outside my window is God consistently, regularly remembering his creation and reaching out to us — even as a small baby raises its arms to reach for a parent.  Relationship with God grows even as that little child wraps his fingers around our heart and we learn to love and understand each other.  Babies change reality as shepherds, wisemen, and soldiers change their plans and come to the stable.  The babe of Bethlehem, Jesus, the Messiah, Immanuel changes our realities as we embrace him.  Today is special.  It is the incarnation, the making known in real form and stories, the God who created, who sustains, who relates, and who journeys with us.  The gifts, the food, the fellowship are our ways of expressing, of incarnating our love for the other. God is real and comes to YOU today!  Blessings.

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