The Incarnation of Christ
Have you ever meditated on the incarnation of Christ? Other than His divine conception, God entered into our world in the normal human way, in utero, through birth, and into childhood. The eternal Word’s first words were just as any other infant’s. He lived as we live. He knew discomfort and delight, loss and love.
God entering humanity in this way has also elevated humanity, you and me. God created us as His image-bearers and then He Himself took on human flesh in the incarnation. You are of great worth to God. He came into this world for you.
Our Lives and the Incarnation of Christ
God took on a body. Do you honor God in the way you treat your body and in how you present yourself? All we are and what we do with the life we’ve been given are of value to God. Do we honor Him in every area of our lives? Our affections, our talents, our relationships, our work, our culture, our imagination and creativity?
We now see Him in the Body of Christ, the believers down through the ages, who are built together into a living Temple. Are you regularly fellowshipping with the family of God? Do you value and seek out the wisdom of God through reading His Word and through the faith of fellow believers? We can be blinded by our own self-centeredness and by our culture so we need to see life through other believers’ eyes, those you fellowship with locally, and those fellow travelers who’ve walked life’s road before you, even centuries ago.
Do you reflect the compassion of the incarnate Christ? Do you see the people around you and their needs? Are you moved to action on their part? Chris Armstrong in his book, Medieval Wisdom (see NOTES), presents an interesting observation of our humanness and the needs of others:
By seeing our ethical lives in the light of our bodily limitations, illuminated further by God’s own assumption and elevation of human nature, we are released from the pressure of perfection. We are released not to sin but rather from aspiring to the impossible: a life lived as if we do not have bodies ourselves–a perfectly godlike life. This is the mistake some make: to expect superhuman, super-spiritual exploits on the part of ourselves and other Christian people. This sort of super-spiritualization leads away from, rather than toward, a healthy and godly attention to the needs of others and the responsibilities of our relationships. (page 212)
Our Worship and the Incarnation of Christ
Being physical creatures, not just spiritual ones, what do you do to add to your worship experiences? Do you set aside times to just reflect on the Creator in a peaceful, natural setting or even in a bustling urban setting, surrounded by people rushing into eternity? Do you set aside time occasionally for an afternoon in an art museum? Look for artists’ creative expressions of people, nature, biblical subjects. Are you creative? Set aside some time to create something to God’s glory.
For the past few years, I see my need for worshipful expression in architecture and “symphonic concerts”. If your weekly worship setting is not majestic, set aside times throughout the year to find a place to worship God in an awe-inspiring way (see NOTES for Central Florida suggestions). Do you have a beautiful, old church in your area that you could even sit in a pew for a time of prayer, taking in the worshipful atmosphere?
What else appeals to your senses for your morning devotions? Candles? Sitting near a fireplace or by a lighted Christmas tree? Do you sing or play worshipful music? Do you reflect on the lyrics and not just mouth them? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your heart to respond with joy or sorrow?
For any choices you make in growing in devotion to your Lord, whether the practices you’re comfortable with over long use or in exploring long-held traditions, make sure both are theologically-informed. Does the practice follow sound doctrine and lead you to God?
- Part of the Nicene Creed helps us understand the incarnation: “I believe… in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man…”
- Providentially, I was reading Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C. S. Lewis by Chris R. Armstrong in November. Through this book, I learned the incarnation was foundational to Medieval believers. The thoughts in this post are mainly in response to what I read. I used the author’s thoughts from pages 210 – 214 (“What a Difference the Incarnation Makes”) as an outline for this post. I hope to write a review of this fascinating book in 2017.
- I highly recommend this quote by C. S. Lewis, opening our eyes to the wonder of the incarnation, written as only Lewis can.
- Again, providentially, I read Kelly Kapic’s A Little Book for New Theologians this summer (see my review). Dr. Kapic also explained the value of learning from earlier believers.
- To add to those who you might wish to learn from, I recommend reading or listening to Brother Andrew, Kay Arthur, Alistair Begg, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Elisabeth Elliot, Charles Finney, Tim Keller, C. S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, C. H. Spurgeon, Joni Eareckson Tada, and numerous others. For myself, I realize I need to increase the variety of voices that speak into my life. To start learning from believers of other ages, I’m planning to read a Puritan devotional, The Valley of Vision, in 2017.
- Free museum admission for Bank of America customers for every first full weekend of every month.
- For Central Florida, attend these annual events: Handel’s Messiah and EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional. Check out the beautiful churches in downtown Orlando or St. Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford for evening concerts. Find a music event at these beautiful chapels: Rollins College’s Knowles Chapel or Stetson University’s Elizabeth Hall (their annual Christmas Candlelight Concert sells out every year).
The photo depicting the infant Christ is copyrighted by the LUMO project (Big Book Media) and distributed for free download, under license exclusively by FreeBibleimages for teaching purposes only. All rights reserved.
Our Lives, Our Worship, and the Incarnation of Christ by Sus Schmitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.