|We talk a lot about the Incarnation as Christmas draws near. Incarnation is a Latin word that means “taking flesh.” God “took flesh” and became the human Jesus. We say that so glibly. But the idea is so impossible.
God became flesh? It’s like accepting that a battleship can fit into a bathtub. A skyscraper can fit into a dollhouse. A field of wheat can fit into a cereal box. More than that, it’s like making blue paint out of blue sky. We can’t fathom such things. In the same way, we can’t imagine the God of the universe becoming a baby.
It’s so odd. After all, the whole point was that God wanted to rescue us. But a baby can’t rescue anyone; babies need rescuing themselves. Maybe because God couldn’t make himself greater to impress us, he made himself smaller to attract us.
And the Christmas story is attractive. In all history there is nothing like it. If you stroll through cities around the world, you will see imposing monuments to outstanding men and women. But have you ever seen a statue of a famous person as an infant? You never see George Washington portrayed in a stroller. It would be silly.
But it’s not silly to honor the Lord of the universe as a baby, because this child signifies the Incarnation. That God took on flesh is amazing and incredible, like an oil well fitting into an oilcan, or a mountain squeezing into a molehill. God became flesh—Wow!
To help you think about what an amazing act the Incarnation is, make a list of all the qualities Jesus gave up or limited to become a baby. For example, he who is the Light of the World chose to dwell in a dark womb for nine months. You’ll be amazed at just what Jesus’ choice meant for him—and for you.
Emmanuel, God with us, words seem impossibly small and unwieldy to try to express the immensity of your love for me, and the gratitude I feel. Help me to live today in a way that would honor the sacrifices you have made for me.