Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sacrifice of Incarnation

I have read more awe-inspiring and deeply meaningful blog posts this Advent season than ever before. Maybe there are more writers writing relevant words for the publications peppering my newsfeed and RSS feeds. Maybe I’m more attuned to the sacred words that rise above the fluff of political and social bravado. Maybe this Advent is just more significant, juxtaposed with the current events of our fallen world.

I wish I could share all their words with you. My web browser currently has more than thirty tabs open. Most of them are articles I am waiting to read. Half of them don’t pertain to Advent, yet with Advent on my mind, every passage of Scripture and spiritual phrase relates, somehow. This is one reason why I treasure Advent so much. It is a season which colors all of our fears, loves, sorrows, and reflections—in the light of Him who came. Meek and mild. Humble and lowly. Yet full of life, and strength, and Light!

Advent makes us remember that the Jesus we read about throughout the rest of the year, is the same Jesus who became Immanuel, God with us. While the power of the cross is what our Christian faith is based on, I often feel more awed by the power of the incarnation. One of my favorite bloggers, Vaneetha Rendall Risner, is a woman whose physical and emotional suffering has produced beautiful fruit through her writing. In her recent post about the Incarnation, she writes,

“The incarnation is an incomprehensible sacrifice for us. God entered our world, giving up all that he had before, to limit himself so that we might have eternal life. The sacrifice he made for us was not just at the cross; it began at the incarnation when God laid aside all his glory and took on human form, with all its limitations, and was born as a baby in a stable in Bethlehem.”

Risner has a powerful story, which she has just made into a book, entitled The Scars that Have Shaped Me. It is high on my to-read list. As many of you know, I spent this past Fall writing about suffering, pain, and loneliness. While I am far from done, I am so thankful for this season of Advent, because it has turned my inwardly-focused reflections outwards. Advent is a time when we can be honest and vulnerable  with God, because He shows us His humility and the messiness of the world in the story of the Incarnation. When all the emotions of the holiday season cause us to become weighed down and overwhelmed, Advent is a safe place to dialogue about the vast topics of death, racism, loneliness, singleness, rejection, fear, displacement, and war. The beautiful part: this is not just about our words, but our actions and reactions. Love came down and took human form so that He might show us the way. He has shown us the way. Walk in it.

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