God pursued us in the Incarnation

Written by Joel on January 9th, 2011

Jan 2, 2011
2nd Sunday of Christmas
John 1:1-18

Notes:

Theme sentence: God’s pursuant love led to the incarnation.

Merry Christmas! Did you hear the nativity story in our Gospel reading this morning?

John does not have a navitity story like the one we are familiar with in the Matthew and Luke gospels. Angels of the Lord saying “fear not,” away in a manger, no room in the inn, straw for his bed, shepherds keeping watch of their flocks by night, three wise men bearing gifts, following yonder star. John does not provide for us the familiar nativity story. This first chapter of the Gospel is John’s nativity, it just begins a bit before the birth of Jesus.

In the begining.

Just as the Bible opens in the book of Genesis with these words, so our evangelist John choose to open his Gospel. Those simple words are so deep, full of meaning, and invite contemplation and wonderment at the very essence of life’s questions. You can not go back any further than the begining. Genesis proclaims “In the begining God…” A simple affirmation which simply assumes the one true God. In the begining God. In the begining was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the begining with God.

In the begining, God. That holy and perfect being. The Trinity, the Three in One, perfect in love. They were in the begining and they were not in want. Yet, the Bible begins by declaring God’s creative work: In the begining God created the heavens and the earth. Which adds to the mystery: God was moved to create. Night and day, water and sky, earth and sea, moon and sun, every kind of plant and creature, and finally humanity.

“God, the Word, was in the world and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” It’s not like God didn’t try. Throughout our history humans have made it difficult to know God. God walked in the garden, and yet Adam sinned. God freed his people from slavery in Egypt and God’s people complained in the desert.

God gave his covenant “I will be your God and you will be my people,” and God’s people choose to submit to kings instead. God pursued, and his people fled. God loved, but people seemed to grow cold.

God had always been the light in the darkness, but the darkness did not perceive the light. Like the Chilean miners who needed special sun glasses when they emerged from the mine; sometimes being in the darkness so long makes it impossible to accept the light. The Word. God. Light; in his pursuit of humanity, in his pursuit of us, because love makes you do crazy things, chose to enter this world. The light came into this world.

The Word became flesh. Another deep mystery of the Christian faith. God, the perfect being, the holy Trinity, the mover and creator of the universe, beyond and above all time entered time; took on flesh. These limited, mortal, fragile bodies. In perfect humility our all kowning God became ignorant; our ever living God subjected himself to life and death; our all powerful God was confined by human powers; Our ever-present God encountered the world at a specific time, place, and as a specific person. All for the pursuit of his love for us.

And God chose to do all this as a child. The Word became flesh…in the ordinary way. By being born, born as a baby. He could have entered in some triumphant way.

The incarnate glorious king; all knowing, all powerful as before and now commanding flesh. But he became a helpless child.

I can’t help but contemplate the profound mystery of the incarnation, especially as I gazed upon my own child this Advent and Christmas season. I imagined Mary and Joseph holding baby Jesus in their arms. How much could they have known? And then my mind wonders to silly things; the creator of the universe who deepended upon diapers, who needed to nurse from Mary every two hours night and day. He probably cried; maybe he was colicly. He couldn’t eat for himself, dress himself, bathe himself, care for himself; God was totally dependent on the caregiving of humans. God was totally dependent on his own creation.

This was at his choice. He chose this subjection, this vulernablitly.

I imagine the Holy Family celebrating early milestones of this most holy child. The first smile or laugh or coo. The first time he said mama or dada or the first time he said I love you; and then I can’t help but think Mary and Joseph had no choice but to burst with love and a smile. To love and be loved in return.

I wonder that the incarnation is some grand parable of God’s love for each of us; that by entering this world as a child and becoming a man that love, that light may truly be known in a deep and profound way not known in quite this way before.

God continues to pursue his love. To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. Perhaps he became a child for us, so we might be children of him.

As we embark on this new year let us contemplate and live in the mystery of the incarnation. Hoping to recognize that you are so loved by God that he chose to come down here and show you his love himself, as a baby born in bethlehem long ago. God’s love still pursues us to this day and into 2011. Let us look to the child this year that we might be beloved children of him.


 

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