Monday, November 28

Advent 2011

Even though I spent four years as a religion major in college and two and a half years in seminary, it wasn't until this year's September 11th church service, in which the youth did a litany of different people's experiences on that date, that I have related this verse to anything tangible.  But it finally occurred to me - the Word made flesh is not just the story of the physical birth of Jesus that begins our Christian tradition, it is when we see the presence of God through other people.  The birth of Jesus is one example of the Word being made flesh.  The Word is made flesh any time hope comes out of darkness.

September 11, 2011, was a difficult day for me, most likely because I decided to answer the questions we were asked to answer for the litany read by the youth.  I found the litany very moving, but also emotionally hard to listen to.  I don't think I had ever made myself relive that day until I sat down to answer those questions.  One of those questions was: How have you made something good out of the experience?  I had to think about it, but I did find hope in that day.  The world did continue and life did go on.  Even more amazingly, the families of the victims of this attack survived and were able to move on.   We don't walk around with that kind of strength every day, but it does come when we need it.  Not only was the Word made flesh through these families, but also through our youth, who did such a beautiful job verbalizing all our different memories into one shared recollection.  We could see God in the rescue workers, the survivors, and the surviving families.  God makes Godself known in us when we can find the strength to overcome what we could never imagine we could endure.

Jacqueline was born almost exactly one month before my mom died.  This was literally the Word becoming flesh for our family.  It was impossible for me to feel only despair with this new little person in my life.  It was also impossible not to envision hope for the future, even as a part of our family history ended and this new part began.  Very shortly after we lost Peepa, six months after losing Mom, we found out that Phoebe was on the way.  While God isn't present only in the birth of new children, it is hard to deny that God is present and made flesh in each birth.

If we pay attention, we can see the Word made flesh all the time, because we can see it any time we look for God in someone else.  Christ is our supreme example of the Word being made flesh, but we should keep our eyes open for other examples all around us.

- Emily Richardson-Dion


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