This short essay is taken from the book, The Incarnation and the Exultation: An Advent Devotional. This devotional reflects on the scriptures of incarnation and exaltation in order to take you on a journey of thoughtful self-reflection. It is meant to draw you more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s coming into the world to help you walk your own inner path toward the season of Christmas. As you celebrate the coming of Christ into your lives during Advent and spend time reflecting on the readings in this devotional, may the light and love that entered our world lead you to the cross in wonder and thanksgiving. May you find joy and discover strength as you walk this wondrous journey to Bethlehem, always holding within your heart the image of the Hill of Calvary and the hope of the Age to come when Christ will return to call his people home!
Key Verse of Incarnation and Exaltation: 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father.
Of all the Gospels, only John takes us back to Genesis with his incarnation story. In the beginning, the eternal Word of God, the One through whom all things were made, the life and light that spoke creation into existence, came to earth to dwell among men. The dark and sinful world could not comprehend this great light, and ultimately rejected him. Yet, there were those who came to believe; and in believing they received the right to be called the sons and daughters of God. But our holy adoption was unlike our natural birth. In Christ, we were born from above.
Some scholars have proposed that Jesus was born in during the Feast of Booths (which is celebrated in September/October). This was the commemoration of the time the Hebrews spent wandering in the wilderness. In their celebrations, the Jewish people lived in shelters as a reminder of their total dependence on God. The week-long celebration was full of light and water imagery. Jesus made a bold proclamation in the temple in Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)
It would certainly make sense that the Son of God should enter into his “tent of flesh” during the time when the People of God were recalling their wandering on the earth. Whether this is true or whether the bleak winter day of December 25th is the day of his birth, the image of the Christ breaking into the wilderness of our wandering is clear. Jesus has come into the world to offer us the Living Water of his Spirit. He longs to make his dwelling in the hearts of those who will invite him to enter in love!
Prayer: Father, may each word of this holy passage permeate my soul and cause me to drop to my knees in awe and wonder as I meditate on the infinite, all-powerful, and eternal Son of God taking flesh and dwelling among us. May it remind me of the first act of creation and point the way to the day when all things will be made new in Christ…Amen!
Our Messiah, King and brother,
Sinless Savior, One so mild,
Holy God alone, no other,
Born to us as lowly child.