A few years ago while living in Costa Rica our family participated in neighborhood reenactments of the Christmas story called “Las Posadas.” Just prior to Christmas, families begin acting out the Christmas story in their neighborhoods. As if we were Joseph and Mary, we went door to door with fellow neighbors calling upon those in the house to open the door of the Inn. Eventually a home would open their doors and invite us inside where we would sing Christmas songs and say prayers and eat Tamales. One of the things that stand out to me about those Christmas reenactments was how relational they were. These were times for neighbors to get together and relate to each other over coffee, tamales and song and tradition. Here we were – aliens, foreigners in their land and they invited us into a most sacred Costa Rican tradition. I am reminded how important it is to recognize that the incarnation – that is – Christ becoming human, is ultimately about relationships. It’s about our relationships with God and about our relationships with one another.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1)
Christ dwells from eternity. He is part of the Godhead and has no beginning and no end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is all powerful, all knowing, He is Sovereign and fully in control, yet he was born in a dirty manger, raised by working class folk – was a refugee in Egypt for years as a toddler, and as an adult he associated with prostitutes, touched diseased beggars, spent most of his time outside the city gates – away from the centers of power, and died alongside common criminals.
That is the paradox of Christmas! It makes no sense to our puny brains. It defies logic and science and reason. That is the incarnation of Christ and the reason we celebrate the King.
Here’s the deal; The incarnation, that emptying we see in Phil 2:6-7, calls us into a relationship that seeks reconciliation both vertically and horizontally. It calls for us to be reconciled with God. That is why Christ came. He came as redeemer to call us to reconciled with God. But it doesn’t stop there. He also calls us into a relationship that radically transforms our daily interactions with one another. The incarnation calls for just relationships and right living here – today.
That’s Christmas – that’s the incarnation.