Not far enough down

Posted: December 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

The preeminent theological idea of the nativity, the Christmas season, is incarnation; God enfleshed. The incarnation insists that God becomes flesh, engages and intertwines with the world. For those who have a very transcendent understanding of the divine – a God who is radically other, set apart from creation – this becomes problematic. How can God retain this “otherness” and still cozy up to the created order?

For those of us who have an immanent God, one present in and woven in the fabric of the world, this is not a problem. In fact, it is just the opposite, a solution; the incarnation is the theological answer of how God’s mystery manifests in the world. For one who believes God is in all things the notion that God becomes flesh is not only part of Christology, the way Jesus relates to both God and world; it describes one’s cosmology or the way the universe is itself. God is already incarnated in the world – how else? The Word becomes flesh in Jesus and we realize that is the way God works all the time.

I have to say that this is the season that makes huge theological sense and is, for that reason, one of the most powerful. There is no distance between, say, the creator of the universe and the primal energy present in Mary’s womb, bringing forth a distinct eruption in the continuum of space and time. Of course God is there. How else? What else?

The more we embrace the omnipresent God the more ideas like incarnation will strike a chord. They do with me. And what a great starting place. We start with God enfolding everything and bringing forth everything, even erupting in a life like Jesus, a life born out nowhere eventually overflowing into the everywhere. I love that.

That’s what the Christmas story creates – not an historical explanation, but a theological expression of the way God reveals – in the flesh, baby. In the baby flesh. In the baby. In.

  1. Janie M says:

    Thank you for explaining exactly why my favorite name for God is “Emmanuel”. Not just at Christmas, but every day.

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