The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
I hardly know where to begin. So much of that which claims to be spiritual or worship worthy or from God is just words on a paper, a list of rules, or a prophecy, through which the speaker claims the right to be obeyed.
Even the old testament though full of angelic appearances and spiritual moments has little to compare with singular theme of the new. Once God prefigured his crowning glory in the old testament when he said to Moses “I have heard the cries of my people, and I have come down to rescue them.” Beautiful, amazing , but temporary. Before this, to the father of the faithful he had appeared before his terrifying destruction of Sodom. Impressive but temporary.
In these last days he set up his tent and came and, think about it, became one of us. And everything ever since has been about this. Jesus came and became flesh and he becomes flesh every time he enters the borrowed tent of another. Christianity is about incarnation, continued, repeated, enlarged, unstoppable.
Jesus came and is still among us, Immanuel, he reaches out of the lives of his people everyday. He speaks in our words but in great joy and with an overwhelming desire he acts, he is, he touches, he hugs, he heals, he feeds, he rescues, he rebuilds. He digs in the dirt, he pulls jiggers out of people’s feet, he carry’s a child out of a ruined building, he loves.
E. Stanley Jones points out that in the visit of Jesus to the world there was and is identification. He stepped into human flesh and he stepped down.
“The steps down were seven: First, He inwardly renounced the security of being equal with God. Second, He emptied Himself of everything, except love. Third, He would love not as a superior from above, but as a servant from below. Fourth, He was willing though God, to be a man, __ not a man at the top, but man at the bottom. Fifth, He humbled Himself as a man ——- become the lowest man —–sinful man. Sixth, He took man’s heritage, death, as His own. Seventh, He took man’s sin as His own and died as a malefactor on cross…
That identification was gradual, beginning at inner renunciation of being equal with God, coming in a Virgin’s womb, and going deeper at every step until he hit rock bottom on a cross. “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
And in every continuation of his incarnation in the lives of those who say “yes” to him; through His Spirit, there is a steady identification with the most broken, and a downward mobility that takes those of us who are carrying the Son of God within us down with it. Down to the depths of pain and loss of innocence, down to the spiralling chaos of addiction, down to the shivering insult of homelessness, down to the abandoned, down to the destitute whether rich or poor, down to the dying, down to the most unimportant. Down to live where Jesus still walks in the flesh to bring good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor; to identify, even in our shared brokenness, with the people Love still wants to touch with our bare hands.
And in the contradiction of humility and mercy Joy dances in the ruins of human life and in the habitation of the broken, and the Kingdom of He who is Heaven grows like a garden in the rubble and wreckage. The Word became flesh and lives among us. Halleluyah.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14