“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”
We began this year’s Advent series by exploring The Waiting Rooms of Christmas. We waited in the Apocalypse and peace found us. We waited in the Wilderness and a garden of grace grew in our midst. We waited in Prison and we discovered ourselves set free. Finally, we waited with Mary in the shameful spotlight of Public Disgrace, which calls forth the most precious gift of all-Emmanuel, God with us, who transforms the waiting room, the waiter, and even the waiting itself by God’s very presence.
The Incarnation of the Word is indeed a revelation, a dawning of light “for those walking in darkness” (i.e. In the Waiting Rooms of Christmas) (Isaiah 9:2). But what is being revealed, and what has arrived? Certainly not the invention of some new reality-as if God has been absent among us and now has shown up. The Incarnation is not so much about the relocation of God as it is about the relocation of humanity’s understanding of God. The Incarnation is calling us to something that was always there but we couldn’t see.
The unimaginable mystery of the Incarnation is that God is not the foreigner that we thought he was. “God is at home,” Meister Eckhart said. “We are in the far country.” As it turns out, God is quite at home here and always has been. We are the strangers in our own land. The One we thought was the Great Outsider turns out to be the Ultimate Insider. It is we who live on the outside of our own existence, not God. The Incarnation invites us to make the journey home within our home.
In a story recounted in the book of 2 Samuel, God’s Word comes to King David through the prophet Nathan. God corrects David’s misguided assumption that it is David’s job to build God a house. “Are you the one to build me a house to live in?” (2 Sam. 7:5). God is trying to help David understand that God is at home in this world in a way that cannot be housed by David’s efforts. God lives a free, dynamic, unending, and ever new existence that cannot be housed in anything other than the home of authentic relationship. God goes on to say that if anyone needs a house, it’s not God. Instead, it’s Israel who needs a house and God offers to build it himself: “The LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house” (2 Sam. 7:11).
Similarly, in Scripture’s final vision of reality, we are reminded again of the great reversal of the Incarnation: “See the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God” (Rev. 21:3). This is the mystery of the Incarnation. In Christ, heaven has always been coming to earth. In Christ, God has always dwelt among us as one who is perfectly suited to the land that we find so strange. The place that so much other-worldly religion tempts us to forsake as foreign is the very place that God occupies as home-so that we can too.
Modified Excerpt from “Meal from Below: A Five Course Feast with Jesus”
by Kris Rocke and Scott Dewey
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