Why the Incarnation Matters

Fred SchmidtFred Schmidt

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 BeckerAmy 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.

Monica A. ColemanMonica A. Coleman

Because it's easy to feel alone,
and we've all asked "why me?"
Because deep pain always screams, "why did you forsake me?"
and we never live up to who we want to be.
Because we tend to overlook the things
that are right in front of us,
and detest the people who cause us harm.
And it's easy to think that we are more important than
soil, birds and kale.
So we have an annual reminder
That we all bear the name "Emmanuel"
God is with us
God is in us
This is all that matters


Monica A. Coleman is Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology and blogs at Beautiful Mind Blog.

Carl GreggCarl Gregg

The Incarnation matters because it is particular. God is not merely an abstract, theoretical "Other"; instead, we are invited to find God in the diversity of people, places, and times of our particular life. How much more particular can you get than a finding God in one first-century peasant from a backwater village! The Incarnation also matters because it is bodily, calling us to engage life, not only with our minds and spirit, but with our bodies. Further, the Incarnation matters because it is earthly, reminding us that this world matters, and that Creation is good and very good.


The Rev. Carl Gregg is an Alliance of Baptist Pastor of Broadview Churchin Chesapeake Beach, MD and blogs at Patheos.

Anne S. HowardAnne S. Howard

In the scandalous Christmas stories of God-made-flesh, we see crystallized in Jesus the promise of a world transformed, a world of justice and peace where empire must be challenged, where God asks sleeping, frightened shepherds -- like us -- to jump up and run. God still comes, God is still being born, in our tired world. Incarnation calls us to face into the future, put flesh on Micah's ancient dream: ". . . they shall all sit under their own fig trees and no one shall make them afraid."


The Rev. Anne S. Howard is the Executive Director of The Beatitudes Society and blogs at the Beatitudes Blog.

12/14/2010 5:00:00 AM