Christmas 9d: God Living Among Us


Christ Our Light, an illumination from the St. John’s Bible by Donald Jackson

John 1:14 NRSV
And the Word became flesh and lived among us,
and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

God is not in the distant heavens or in the hidden depths of the future, but here and now. God has pitched a tent among us. Even more than that, God has made a home in us so that we can make God’s home our home. We find our way home to the heart by following Jesus. – Henri J.M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Homecoming

These eyes have never seen the Savior, but this heart has seen Him.
These lips have never kissed His cheek, but the soul has kissed Him
and He has kissed me with the kisses of His mouth, for His love is better than wine.
Think me not enthusiastic or fanatical when I say
that the children of God have as near access to Christ today in the spirit,
as ever John had after the flesh.
So that there is to this day a rich enjoyment to be obtained by those who seek it,
in having actual fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Your God’s not absent, distant, impotent.
Your God’s vigilant, infinite, omnipotent, and intimate.
He made dermis His tent and lit the flesh with a pillar of glory — then walked among us? With cheekbones and stubble and hands that could hold you? Came and dwelled among us and knocked on the front door and asked if He could come in? Localized glory for your localized pain. He pitched His tent and camped right in the middle of us….
The Shekinah glory abode in the Tabernacle.
Then the glory of God tabernacled in the skin of Jesus.
The grace and truth of Jesus now tabernacles in you.
– Ann Voskamp, How to Live When Life Just Hurts

Extended quote by Debbie Blue
in From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again

“The Word became flesh” is God acting, God reaching. It reveals the lengths God is willing to go in pursuit of humanity, and it reveals an intimate, passionate, and vulnerable pursuit. The Word enters the darkness in order to bring light. Barth says that in this act “the antithesis, the distance, the abstraction that is created by the fact of darkness…is overcome.” It was not God who created the distance: it was humanity; it was sin. And in Jesus Christ, the distance is overcome.

Jesus Christ isn’t God standing back, beckoning fools to get out of their big and loud and stinky vehicles; Jesus is God climbing in the seat beside the fools and remaining there for the duration of the ride. The Word become flesh isn’t God giving up and turning away in disgust when God sees the people eat their third meal of the week from McDonald’s; it is God joining them for the meal. Instead of God protecting God’s good reputation, remaining above all the futility of the human race, instead of God maintaining good taste and impeccable manners, in Jesus we see God entering the paltry ruckus of life as we know it. It looks foolish. But it reveals, perhaps, something about how God feels about us. It was always in God’s heart to give up glory and power in order to achieve union. In the story John tells, wisdom plays the fool in order to be with us. The story of the Word become flesh is the story of God with us in an incredibly vulnerable way.

Emmanuel by Steve Garnaas Holmes
 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” –
Matthew 1:23

Forget all the fancy theories of salvation,
how this birth will be the latchkey
to our otherwise impossible forgiveness.
No, it is much more simple.

God wants to be with us.
That’s all.
Messed up as we are,
the Beloved likes to be close.

God desires to be with you,
delights to be with you.
Our Heavenly Lover delights
to be with all humanity,
because that’s what love is like.

All the stars in the darkness,
all the aching hearts,
the strangers who,
after all, are lovely,
all of this marvel
is just the divine plea
for friends.

How simple it is
to give God
immense pleasure!

Click Here for the video which accompanies today’s artwork by calligrapher Timothy Botts.

For information on The Story of Christmas Reading Plan, click here

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please refer to the copyright information page.

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