Christmas


This Advent season has been unique for me, as I continue to grieve the loss of my grandfather three months ago.  Once again, the mystery of the Incarnation falls fresh on my heart.

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
(from “Once in Royal David’s City”)

The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need; our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King!  Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King!  Before Him lowly bend!
(from “O Holy Night”)

Tonight we worship the One whose coming made sacred all of the moments of our lives.  His light has pierced the darkness of this world and brought our salvation.  The Word has inhabited our flesh and redeemed it.  And yet we still wait for the time when darkness will cease to exist.  This world’s complete redemption has not yet come, but Christmas reminds us that it most certainly will.  And thus today’s Daily Office readings proclaim the great hope of our lifelong Advent.

They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.  (Isaiah 35:10)

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”  Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.  (Revelation 22:20)

Incarnation.

Jesus became a fetus and was birthed with much labor and pain.  He learned how to eat and how to walk.

The Word of God learned how to speak.

He had grandparents and cousins, friends and neighbors, a trade, and no place to lay His head.

Not only did He inhabit our world.  He inhabited our skin and bones life.  He experienced our humanity fully.

The moments of life that are joyous and those that are filled with grief.  The times of boredom and the times of great anticipation.  The lonely and the communal.  The trivial and the monumental.  What overwhelms us suddenly and what keeps us waiting for what seems like forever.

The Divine inhabited the mundane and the normal.  And in doing so, He demonstrated that His presence makes it sacred.

Life is made of many experiences, many emotions, and many moments.  Sometimes they can seem unimportant or irrelevant.  But Jesus’ incarnation means it is not so.

His Spirit within us inhabits every one of our moments and makes them holy.

Oh, the beauty and hope of the incarnation!

I stumbled upon this post today and received a much-needed shift in perspective for this Christmas season.  It is so worth your time.

Emmanuel.

We like to use that particular name of God this time of year.  We sing songs and write Isaiah 7:14 on our Christmas cards.

With us.

I know it in my head, but does my heart really grasp it?

We worship a God who wanted to be with us.

The chasm between us — the one that was our fault, not His — was not acceptable to Him.  He wanted to be with us.  He wanted to be near us.

Christmas.  When God came and dwelt among us.  When God came near.

We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your Name is near… (Psalm 75:1)