Tuesday, December 24, 2013


And so this is Christmas . . .

For all my talk about focusing on Jesus during Christmas, like everyone else, I get far too caught up in all the doings. So caught up that I missed my last two blogging days. But that's okay, because I probably would have ended up blogging about Phil Robertson, and these two people (here and here) said it all more eloquently than I would have.

But it's Christmas Eve now, and everyone is still in bed after a late-night Dominion binge, so I'm considering this morning the significance of what these next couple days are all about. God becoming a man and living with us.

This is, of course, a mystery whose depths we will never really be able to explore fully. In our limited human capacity, we will never completely understand the hows and whys of divine incarnation. But we get glimpses of truth . . . usually the glimpses that God needs us to see for some reason at that point in our lives.

I blogged recently about Jesus teaching us to be human.  This is the glimpse God has had for me lately. That Jesus came to live in human flesh to show us how to live. I know, I know -- didn't I learn that in fourth grade Sunday school? Well, yes, I learned that fact in Sunday school . . . the reality of what that fact means takes the instruction of the Spirit to sink in.

Consider some of the things Jesus did on earth:

- He slept. All the work he had to do, all the needs around him, all the burdens on his shoulders, and he took the time to sleep when his body needed it. And to sleep soundly -- the disciples had to wake him up to point out the raging storm that was about to sink their boat.

- He socialized. And not only with "his own kind". The Pharisees got on his case for hanging out with the sinners and low-lifes. He cultivated relationships, and apparently did it well enough that people -- especially those sinners and low-lifes -- sought him out to be with him.

- He separated himself on occasion, spending time alone with the Father to get re-juiced. And I doubt he felt guilty about it.

- He prayed. Again, we can't ever really comprehend the relationship within the Trinity and what this kind of prayer was like -- but Jesus, in his human form, spent extensive time in prayer. Before he chose his twelve disciples, he spent all night in prayer. If Jesus needed that kind of connection time with the Father, what makes me think I can get by on the occasional shout-out?

- He fasted. Despite his divinity, there was still something about existing in human flesh that meant that flesh had a pull on him which required a conscientious effort to deny once in a while to get his focus back where it needed to be. Again, if Jesus needed to fast, for crying out loud . . .

- He devoured Scripture. As I said in that blog, he didn't call down the angels to battle Satan during his temptation in the wilderness.  He used the same weapon we have available to us -- the Word. He showed us how it's done.

Hebrews tells us that we don't have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our human weaknesses, but one who was tempted in every way just like we were, but succeeded in not sinning. I think we need to remember what a gift that is. That when we are struggling, he's not standing over us clucking his critical tongue, shaking his aggravated head, wagging his accusatory finger. He GETS it. He's been there. He knows.

Thank you, Lord, for willingly becoming our Emmanuel. Pleased as man with man to dwell!  Merry Christmas, all!

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