In the person of Christ we see humanity yielding itself completely to divinity. Jesus is perfectly righteous because his will is submitted completely to the love of the Father. Herein lies the essence of all true spirituality. Our greatest fulfilment does not come by resisting God or trying to become God, but by yielding ourselves completely to God. Although we cannot replicate the unique person of Christ, we can learn from him what it means to be truly human.
We all know that we are supposed to be amazed by the incarnation. We reverently listen to Christmas messages and use pious language about the marvel and beauty of the child in the manger. However, if we are honest, a lot of us struggle get much spiritual benefit from thinking about the incarnation. We are more mystified by the story of Christmas than amazed by it. We readily understand the need for Jesus to live a perfect life, for him to die on the cross, and for him to resurrect; however, the relevance of the incarnation is more difficult for us to determine. The proof of this is seen in two ways: first, in just how little we talk about the incarnation at any time other than Christmas and, second, the slight influence that the incarnation has in shaping our everyday devotional lives.
Now, if you (like me) have often struggled to discern the spiritual relevance of the incarnation, here are some ideas to ponder over the advent season.
1 – The Incarnation Reveals the Dignity of Human Nature
God could not take the form of a tiger, a mole, or an eagle and reveal His glory. There is something incompatible about the nature of a mere animal and the nature of God. Animals lack the freedom, will, intellect, and ability to love which are necessary to reflect the personal nature of God.
The incarnation highlights for us that, when the Bible says we are made in the image of God, it really means what it says. Our nature, as shocking as it may sound, is able to bear something of the weight of God. God is able to take the form of a man because man is able, by design, to reflect the life of God. Marilynne Robinson, the great Christian novelist, captures this point when she says, “Jesus is the profoundest praise of humankind the cosmos could utter” – or, as one old Puritan put the matter, Jesus is the “flower” of our nature.
2 – The Incarnation Measures the Immeasurable Love of God
Pagan religion could not conceive of a true incarnation.