By Pastor Wes Poole
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory,
the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. NRSV
The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that He sunk Himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
Martin Luther, Table Talk.
From my illustration archives…
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left. Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, “I am your king!” The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn’t. Instead he said, “You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!”
God is willing to make most any accommodation to have fellowship with us. Even becoming human.
God is willing to make most any accommodation for us. What an amazing truth! This God we worship simply will not tolerate a diminished relationship with His cherished children. With all that we celebrate during the “holiday season”, this is perhaps the most profound of God’s gifts. In the church, we call it the Incarnation, the “Word living among us” as John the Evangelist reminds us in that deeply theological first chapter. Of course, with the two millennia of hindsight we enjoy, we know the true breadth of that gift. What will culminate at Easter began in that stable in Bethlehem. I think it is also important that we take note of just how God chose to come among us. While the Son of God could have legitimately become incarnate with great fanfare and splendor, he chose poverty and the humblest of circumstances. Strength through weakness, power through humility and service; these were the hallmarks of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the example he set for us all. While the need to serve our neighbor and relive the plight of the poor will always be at the heart of faithful, Christian ministry, 2020 has brought into extra high relief that perpetual need. Like the innkeeper who provided the Holy Family with what he was able, so do we look around us, see the needs of our brothers and sisters in our communities and beyond, and do what we can to meet those needs in the Name of Jesus. There is no greater witness to the eternal truth we celebrate at Christmas. God has given the gift of Himself. May we also continue to give of ourselves; making the glad tidings of Jesus and his love known to all people!
Let us pray…
Incarnate God, you came among us to show us the way to live in service to you and our neighbor. Through your Incarnation, you showed us the truest examples of love and self-giving. As we celebrate your nativity at Christmas, help us never to lose sight of the plight of the poor and needy. The Holy Family depended on the kindness of others. May our lives and our good works show the world that all people can depend on us. We ask these things in the Name of Jesus, Our Lord Immanuel. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe!
Pastor Wes †