And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14
Incarnation is a beautiful word that sums up what Christmas is all about, but it is unfortunately underused. At first glance, you might think I’m writing about flowers or a brand of evaporated milk. If we can push past the commercialism of the season, we see that Christmas is about the Son of God becoming incarnate. John’s gospel explains the incarnation of Christ as the Word becoming flesh and living among us. Jesus is God in the flesh, a baby we can see, hold, touch, whose cries we can hear and who knows as deeply as any of us what it is like to be human, to be born and to die. And that same baby in the manger is God in the flesh who knows us more deeply than we know ourselves. Wow! Truly, for us as Christians, Christ’s incarnation is something to celebrate, to marvel at, and to wonder about.
It is quite appropriate that December’s missional habit is Learning Christ. This month’s challenge is to spend a period of each week learning Christ, which could include watching a film about Jesus (The Nativity Story (2006) is a good seasonal choice), reading a book about Jesus (I can give you plenty of ideas) or reading one of the gospels. As December 1 this year starts our new church year, I would recommend starting with Matthew, the primary gospel we’ll be using for the coming year. Matthew’s way of describing the incarnation of Jesus includes the specific naming of Jesus as Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23).
Learning Christ isn’t just about learning more facts about the historical Jesus, however. My hope is that as we learn more about Christ, we also grow in our relationship with him. The incarnation is in part about letting Christ live through us. God asks us to go deep in a culture that tends to only scratch the surface of what Christmas is all about. Let’s go deep in our study of Christ and in our relationship with him. Let’s go deep in our relationships with others, as we invite neighbors to a meal, to church, or take the time to listen to the concerns of our community. Let’s go deep in our worship and prayer life together so that we hear the familiar Christmas story not just as a history lesson or children’s tale, but as our God’s miraculous desire to live among us, showing us his glory even now. I invite you to join us here at Faith for the many opportunities we have this month to go deep with the Word made flesh, Emmanuel, God with us.
Pastor Rebecca Sheridan