My Christmas blog is running a bit behind schedule due to the glorious fact I had all four kids home for the holidays. Hopefully even though it is late, it will still be meaningful.
It is the season of Emanuel…God with us…God incarnate. The word incarnation literally means “the act of becoming flesh.” Light turned into life. Beauty transformed into breath. Spirit converted to skin. Presence translated into person. A miracle really. God to Earth in such a way as to relate and commune with us. It is where the idea of Christmas miracles was first formed…an awareness that we all have around this time of the year that miracles are possible. It is hope birthed.
An odd choice to come as a baby…hidden away in a stable. Not the usual place one looks for God. To find him, one had to search him out. Still does. Glory surrounded by skin is not so obvious. There is something about that flesh that blots out the holiness from the naked eye. It is a veil. That baby-God was not visible. In that time, he was simply another baby born to a poor couple. And though his deity was invisible and difficult to spot when looking, hearts felt it. When people gazed upon him, their spirits leapt. The mystery of incarnation was more of a hunch than an understanding. It begged to be followed. Curiosity drew shepherds and kings. They sensed significance. Maybe it was the angels…or the star…or maybe it was the internal nudge of recognition of God wrapped in skin.
Searching and searching to find the promise, but then what to do with him when he was found. What to do with this babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, who was an outward symbol of an inward truth…a reflection of the very character of God. Go and see, then what? Even in the appointed time and place, there was the question ringing out…what does it all mean? The incarnate God didn’t explain. In fact, he waited 33 years to demonstrate the implication of the birth…allowing curiosity to guide hearts, rather than a crown to draw crowds. A God for the curious rather than the powerful.
The flesh was ripped open and still the question…what does it all mean? Confusion. Searching. Curiosity. Then the light from the tomb, and glory seeped out to become visible for a time. Understanding. Lightbulb moment. The flesh was but a vehicle for the LOVE. The body a home for the hope. All wrapped up…like a gift at Christmas. All that had to be done was for it to be unwrapped, the outer layers pulled off to reveal what was inside. It was a gruesome unwrapping, yet the gift inside was beyond expectation. Glory, freely offered. Grace, liberally given. The only requirement was to receive it…still is.
Receive the incarnation, God with us…so we can have God IN us, still veiled by flesh…our own. Still sought out by the curious. Still hidden away in unusual and unexpected places…in hearts, not buildings. Still recognized when spirits leap and ask the question, what does it all mean? Emanuel. God with us. The miracle and gift of Christmas. Still being unwrapped and revealed…to the curious.