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Archive for December, 2012

“It’s Christmas time: trees, lights, gifts, and Nativity scenes. We find ourselves drawn to the Christ Child and his mother with a sense of wonderment and awe. In the icon of the Incarnation of Christ we find Mary reclining on a couch with her infant son at her side in the manger. Above are the star and the angels, around them are gathered the animals, the shepherds and the wise men are off to the side, and down in one corner is the child being bathed by the midwives. The icon points to the true mystery of this feast: God has become human. To put it another way: God has become un-God.

Thus: God, who is ever-conscious, sleeps beside his mother and will spend a sleepless night in Gethsemane on the night before his passion.

God, who is all-powerful, lies as a helpless infant and will later be handed over to enemies to be tortured to death, bereft of all.

God, who is omnipresent, is confined to a manger in swaddling clothes and will later be nailed to a cross and confined in a tomb.

God, who requires nothing, takes nourishment from his mother and will later cry out in thirst from the cross.

God, who is eternal and unchanging, comes to be and is born of Mary and will later die on a cross.

And all of this is held together in such a way that both natures, human and divine, concur in one person without diminishment, division, confusion, or change to either nature. In the Incarnation we go beyond paradox into the mystery of utter contradiction, a mystery which has no resolution except in the person of Jesus himself.

According to Genesis we are made in the image and likeness of God, and in God’s self-emptying and taking on human nature, God shows us what that image and likeness really look like. Thus, the one without sin, Jesus, comes to show us what God made us to look like – what God looks like. So when Jesus says, “If you see me you are seeing the Father,” he is not speaking figuratively. He really means that “the Father and I are one.” And Jesus constantly invites each of us into that intimate union with the Father – the intimate union that is our birthright as human beings.
This is the challenge of the incarnation: that we model ourselves on Jesus, the Anointed One of God, and become more and more like the God he worships. Jesus still walks with us – he never stops being human. He walks with us into the heart of the Trinity to himself. He is traveling companion and destination. He is Image and Original. He is Way, Truth, and Life. He is Alpha and Omega.

And in this season we celebrate his birth.

Christ is Born!

Glorify Him!”

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When I arrived at the street where my apartment building is located, just a short while before composing this post, I heard the fire alarm. I was not sure which building the alarm was coming from until I was standing in front of the main door. I opened the door and immediately smelled smoke. The building was evacuated quickly. Thankfully, no one was injured, and thanks to the efficiency and diligence of the local fire department, there was no significant damage to any of the apartments. Thanks be to God.

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