It’s Incarnation, Baby

IMG_2611We’ve gathered around this door in the season leading up to this Christmas Eve night. It’s a door that bears our dark secrets and worries, our anger with God. It’s a door that exposes our faithlessness our brokenness as we swear God is not with us. This door traveled out in the community, inviting others to share their brokenness, their despair. And then we’d drag it back into worship, drag it back into a community of prayer. What an inappropriate thing to have up, center stage on such a holy night, right? 

This is what Jesus was born into. This mess. Our mess. God sent Jesus into our deepest darkest night; into our apathy; into our unbelief. God didn’t send Jesus with a big red bow to tie off our mess and make everything just fine. God sent Jesus as the ultimate act of love, bursting open our closed locked doors; bursting open our closed, dark hearts.

You see, Jesus brings wholeness to our brokenness; reconciliation to our fractured relationships; healing to our sick bodies and minds and souls. Jesus saves us from ourselves.

But there is no magic wand, here. We are not here tonight to celebrate a fairy tale. We are here tonight to celebrate a savior born as a helpless, vulnerable, mortal baby. Sent into a violent, faithless world. What God did and how God did it is just ridiculous.

The fancy theological term for God sending Jesus is the incarnation, which means embodiment and experience in bodily form, in fleshy earthy reality. So as it turns out, God sent Jesus to experience life as we experience it and God invites us to follow in our fleshy earthy reality. Follow God in the flesh. Our fragile, broken flesh and blood. Our messed up lives – all of it is part of this life in Jesus. It’s incarnation, baby.

God slipped into flesh so we might have a chance to experience God in our every day lives that are sometimes filled with darkness and cracks and yuck. And do you want to know how God did it? By inviting us into a way of life of following Jesus. Not our own good ideas; not our own little drummer boy, but Jesus.

Jesus brings wholeness to our brokenness when you – yes you – show up to a funeral and hug a grieving body and say awkward things. Your body, your presence in that situation is what matters. It’s incarnation, baby.

Jesus brings reconciliation to our fractured relationships when that forgiveness you’ve been praying for results in your standing on a doorstep of another to try again. It’s incarnation, baby.

Jesus brings healing to our sick bodies and minds and souls not in the ways we always want. We pray for cures and instead Jesus sends you to bring hot dish and to hold a hand and to just be there. Tiny, every day miracles of presence. Of flesh and blood showing up. It’s incarnation, baby.

This is the ridiculous miracle we celebrate. That our God took on flesh and bone – the very stuff we are made of – to show us love. It is the ultimate act of love. And it’s what saves the world. It’s incarnation, baby. Amen.