Why the Incarnation Matters
A seemingly insignificant moment,
like millions of others:
a child enters the world.
His story: yet to be written.
But like every other story,
the child will grow, learn,
will know love, loss, suffering, joy.
The child will become an adult.
And one day, the child will die.
The story of every human:
now God's story.
The experience of every human:
now God's experience.
Unlike any moment
creation and cosmos has ever witnessed:
Creator crossing the barrier
and entering its midst.
rips out the end of the human story
and rewrites it.
Kara Root is pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, MN and blogs at in the hereandnow.
If Jesus is just a good guy, then the world has one more hero -- but nothing more -- and we are stuck with no way out. You can stack up martyrs like firewood (and many have), but the world will remain broken.
If God had not bothered to tell us that we are beloved by entering into our lives, then we are stuck with the architect of the cosmos, living at a comfortable, divine arm's length from our chaos. Nicely celebrated at the opening of Congress and football games, but no earthly good.
The incarnation says "no" to both alternatives. God is different enough to be capable of saving us -- and enough like us to understand our needs.
Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. is an author, Episcopal Priest, and Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Perkins School of Theology. He blogs at his Patheos Expert site here.
Amy Julia Becker
"God is love."
When my mother-in-law was dying, she needed people to place ice chips in her mouth and rub lotion on her body. When my children were babies, they needed us to rock them to sleep and change their diapers. I prefer sentimental statements to dirty hands and tired limbs. Jesus may have preferred to stay away from this world of stables and carpentry and crucifixion. But the Incarnation shows me that God's love isn't abstract. It is as concrete as a baby in a manger, as a young man in a temple, as a rabbi on a cross.
Amy Julia Becker is working on a book that will be published next fall, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany Books). She blogs at Thin Places.