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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Honest Advent: Incarnation

Image text: "Immanuel. God with us. The Incarnation." Image source.
Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
"Immanuel" which means "God with us."

That's why I love Christmas. It's about incarnation, which, along with resurrection, is the entire foundation of my religious beliefs. Incarnation and resurrection.

Yes, I believe in The Incarnation; I believe Jesus was a real person who was God in human flesh. But far more important than The Incarnation is incarnation. "God is with us, right here, right now, always," is far more important than "2000 years ago in the Middle East, God became a person."

I believe God is with us, God is in us, God is watching all the time, and God feels every emotion we feel. God is empathy.

Back when I was an evangelical, we focused so much on apologetics, on arguing that yes, the Christmas story is TOTALLY a HISTORICAL FACT. We had to shoot down any doubt as fast as possible. People quoted probabilities about prophecies, historical records about Herod, estimates for when the gospel of Matthew was written.

It was all about proving how The Incarnation was totally definitely literally true. The actual meaning of incarnation, as a concept, was an afterthought.

Same thing for resurrection. I believe The Resurrection literally happened, but resurrection is far more important to me now than The Resurrection. We will all rise again, and there will be no more death or pain.

Immanuel. God is with us. Incarnation.

Merry Christmas everyone~

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