“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11
Dear Redeemer Family:
Though Christmas is a season, the majority of people think of it as only a day, or at most two days; Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And most people will only think of the Gospel lesson from Luke 2 with its proliferating images of the nativity, which is important. But, it is just as important to make sure that the deep spiritual and theological truth of the incarnation – the Word dwelling among us here and now – is held up as well throughout the years.
If we dwell only on the images of Luke 2, without making connections to what the Incarnation means for daily life, we will miss out on one of the great spiritual truths of our faith – that all creation and all of our lives are filled with divine presence. Some theologians call this “deep incarnation,” which broadens the scope of the term beyond Jesus to all persons and, indeed, to the vast expanse of the universe. This is found in the Gospel lesson of Christmas Day, and this year, for the Second Sunday in Christmas; the First Chapter of John’s Gospel: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus, the Author of Creation comes and dwells among us, still!
In other words, let us consider what becomes incarnate at Christmas. Surely, with all our senses we experience the divine presence in the liturgy and especially in the body and blood of Christ received at the altar. For us, the incarnation is not a past event but something happening in our midst. As with the Season of Advent, we are called to continually “awake” and see the salvation at hand.
The mystery never ceases to surprise and catch us off guard; in manger and on the cross, God’s hidden and vulnerable presence is revealed to us, as Martin Luther reminds us in virtually all of his writings. In the Incarnation, we have very concrete examples in which justice, love, joy, and freedom are revealed in the very human circumstances of daily life.
Let us always welcome the Christ Child. And let us always welcome the Word of God Who comes and lives among us! May you all have a very joyous, and spiritual, Christmas Season. And may He for Whom we have waited always live and dwell in our hearts!