Christmastime is a reminder of the amazing truth that God, in the form of a baby, came down to this earth to be with us. This astonishing truth is referred to as “the incarnation” and is laid out for us in Scripture by the disciple John: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
Jesus, the Son of God, in His great love has come for you and me! This is an enormously profound truth. When you think about your neighbors who might be hard to be with, don’t ever forget that Jesus decided to leave the comforts of Heaven to make His dwelling to be close with you, too. Despite our sinful, broken natures, Jesus came to you and to me and to all of our neighbors. Despite our hypocritical, back-stabbing, wretched selves, Jesus came to us. Despite our selfish, indulgent, worldly-consumed selves, Jesus came to us!
In the Old Testament, before Jesus, we see that people needed to go to the temple (also called the tabernacle), to have their sins forgiven. This took place before the High Priest. The tabernacle was supremely important in having a right relationship with the Heavenly Father.
Going back to John 1:14 when the writer is talking about Jesus dwelling with us, he uses the Greek word skene which means “tabernacle.” Essentially, this verse reads that Jesus “tabernacled among us.” This means that instead of us needing to go to the tabernacle to have a right relationship with the Heavenly Father, we see that Jesus came to us. He is the tabernacle; we can be in a right relationship just by being with Jesus.
I like to take this profound truth a step further. I believe we can conclude that if Jesus is incarnational, meaning that He came to us, then we as followers of Jesus can be incarnational too, meaning that we should go to others!
We see this in Jesus’ prayer for His disciples and us: “Jesus himself prays for us, ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’” (John 17:18).
In regards to Jesus-followers modeling Jesus’ incarnational living, Michael Frost shares, “To identify incarnationally with a people will mean that we must try to enter into something of the cultural life of a ‘people’; to seek to understand their perspectives, their grievances and causes, in other words their real existence, in such a way as to genuinely reflect the act of identification that God made with us in Jesus” (as quoted in The Shaping Of Things To Come).
These days it seems that many people won’t step foot into a church. So, if they won’t come to us, then we must go to them.
This Christmas, as we celebrate the profound truth that God, in the form of a baby, came to you and me, may we follow His incarnational example and go share His love and truth with others.