Sunday, November 27
God is not a concept or theory. God is a living being. And God became best known by becoming a human being. Through Jesus, God interacted with humankind and thereby revealed God's nature and essence. Incarnation is the theological term used to describe God's action. The word incarnate literally means to become flesh, to take human form. Christmas is the church festival used to celebrate God's action. The word Christmas is literally Christ's mass or Christ's body, meaning God has become human. In this season of Advent we prepare ourselves to celebrate anew the Word becoming flesh, God becoming human.
I believe we mistakenly limit our understanding of the incarnation to Jesus alone. I sense we unfortunately limit the meaning of Christmas to only the babe of Bethlehem. When God gifted believers with the Spirit, the possibility of becoming a manifestation of God in human form was given to each of us.
A pastor was called by his denomination to start a new congregation. The pastor spent six months visiting more than 4,000 homes in the area, meeting residents and inviting them to a new mission. Curiosity about the pastor's work was great, so a local newspaper interviewed him. The pastor was asked to describe the purpose of his ministry. Before the pastor could answer, a voice from another cubicle in the newsroom spoke: The Word has become flesh. In other words, the pastor was a living manifestation of the presence of God in that community, bringing grace and truth to each home visited.
Any time we love our neighbor, anywhere we share our faith, any place we serve others, we become an incarnation. When our purpose is grace, God lives and acts through us. We become the body of Christ in the world today. Advent is a perfect time for us to reconsider our personal mission for God. How, where, and when can we serve God and thereby be a living manifestation of the Lord? May this Christmas be a renewal of our openness to the Word becoming flesh in us!
- Rick Sebastian