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Incarnation

Faith & Inspiration

Something I like about Christmas is that-so long as the preacher is a Christian-it's hard to get the sermon wrong. This is when we remember that God Himself crossed the divide, out of His great love for mankind. We may allow subtle, heretical distinctions between the will or glory or essence of Father and Son to enter into our lexicon and thinking at other times of the year. We may get stingy in our interpretation of just who He came to save. But at Christmas, at least, what we preach is the love of God, a love so overwhelming that God Himself assumes a humble estate.

This is the time of year as well when we can't help but preach the Incarnation, the revelation of the God-man. It is when we are most apt to cast aside the false distinction between the sacred and the secular, seeing as we do, if only briefly, the Word walking amongst whores and tax collectors, turning water to wine, and multiplying the loaves by which man cannot live alone but which he surely needs to live, and laying hands upon cold dead flesh, not that the spirit within it might go to "a better place," but that the flesh itself might be restored, that this life on this earth might be declared good and right and God-blessed.

We may treat the flesh as corrupt beyond repair the rest of the year, and turn our funerals into liberation celebrations, but at least at Christmas we remember that God breathed into a virgin, that she might give birth to God, and that God became man because man has been crafted in the image of God, and is His most precious creation. We remember that the Messiah wept at the sight of death, and sweated blood at the approach of His own, knowing the cost, and yet bearing it in order that lowly, blessed man might live a life eternal.

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We remember in this season the fullness of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, coequal and eternal and overflowing with love, demonstrating to creation that love is other-oriented, that we are crafted to live in communion, and that even after we corrupted ourselves, when we were dying from hunger and thirst, this love was so great that God Himself became our feast.

These are the things we remember at Christmas. May we remember them the day after, and the day after that, and live as members of that incarnate body, as the hands and mouth and loving heart of Christ.

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