Implications of the Christmas Incarnation
Tonight, during Christmas Eve worship services around the world, the mysterious heart of Jesus’ coming — the incarnation of God — will be placed before us in the reading of the first chapter of the Gospel of John, particularly this verse:
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
On Christmas, Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. And being human was made new.
When the Word became flesh, all flesh was changed. This was the moment that Jesus transformed our sinfulness by entering into our sinful human state. This was the moment that made any distinction between clean and unclean among humankind meaningless for the rest of time. Jesus lived as we live; the human being is blessed from that moment on.
And this is not just theological abstraction limited to adult Sunday school curricula or seminary discussion groups. This has real implications in the world.
All flesh was changed by Jesus dwelling among us. The distinction is not whether we have been changed by this but whether we know or perceive the glory, full of grace and truth, that lives with us and in us. Paul called this knowing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and he saw this knowledge come over completely unexpected people, the Gentiles.
This is another reason why I care so deeply about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in the church — because the exact same thing holds true for them. LGBT people, like all people, have been changed by Jesus’ incarnation — God coming in the flesh.
And among LGBT people are those who know that this blessing of transformation in Christ has happened to them and to the whole world. These faithful Christians marvel at the manger scene every Christmas, bowing heads in thanks for the gift of God’s love for us and for all in Jesus becoming flesh. LGBT believers devote themselves to lives of service in the church and the world in response to the Incarnation and all it means to them.
This annual Christmas reminder of the Incarnation fortifies us to continue to broadcast in word and deed God’s Grace in Jesus with all its implications.
This Holy Night may you take in the blessing already there for you because of God with us, Immanuel, Jesus, the Christ child whose coming we mark tonight!