7th Day within the Octave of the Nativity
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us…”
These are the famous words in John’s Gospel that refer to the Incarnation. One theologian wrote this about the Incarnation: “I searched for God in the heavens but found he had fallen to earth, so I must seek him among my friends.”
The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is the ultimate in God’s revealing and redeeming activity. When God called Moses to tell the Israelites that he was going to bring them out of Egypt, Moses had to tell God: “If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Moses did not grasp that – neither do we.
However, the mysterious “I AM” now has a name: JESUS. “I AM” has named himself… flesh and bone and blood… the Word became flesh… the “I AM” is Jesus. Maxie Dunham, in one of his sermons, says, “It was not enough for God to name himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” “He had to become an Abraham, an Isaac, or a Jacob. And he did. And his name is Jesus.” This is Christianity’s most unique claim: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
The Greek word translated ‘dwelt’ is the same Greek word that we translate ‘tent’. The God who lived in the highest heavens chose another address: he pitched his tent among us. God, in Jesus, located himself so fully in our human story of weakness and vulnerability, of pain and suffering, of frailty and fragility, of brokenness and woundedness.
The Christmas story speaks to us of new birth and the possibility of our own rebirth. Christmas tells us that things can be different. It gives substance to our hope that new life is possible… because of the birth of the Son of God. Facing a new calendar year, may the light of Christmas shine within us – believing that God loves us to the core.