Incarnation

Something about the light in Kansas City makes me want to write, and I am finding after two weeks that I have more to say than time to say it in.  The 2,000 mile treck home to California has only confounded the matter.  So rather than revisiting all the stirring thoughts of the last three weeks, I want to start here, now, with Christmas and the wonder of the Incarnation.

Incarnation…from the Latin word carnis meaning flesh, from which we get words like “carnitas” (mmmm…chili con carne) and “carnal”.  In + caro means God puts on skin and becomes a man.  The Gospel of John puts it this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”

Wait a minute…this is GOD.  The tabernacle and the sacrificial system of the Old Testament were created so that He could travel with the Israelites in the wilderness and not KILL them with His holiness.  God, for whom we have a glaring lack of ability to comprehend, even in poetic images: the bush that burns and is not consumed, the fire by day, cloud by night, deep darkness, everlasting light.  Angels…gargantuan creatures of epic ferocity, fly around Him, covering their eyes and feet and crying out “Holy!  Holy!  Holy!”  This is GOD.

And He became flesh.

He put on skin.  He became frail.  He submitted Himself to imperfect parents, siblings, teachers, friends.  He dwelt among us.

He put on skin so that He could know us in our frailty.

He put on skin so that He could change what it means to wear skin.

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