The Word became flesh.  Ultimate Mystery born with a skull you could crush one-handed.  Incarnation.  It is not tame.  It is not touching.  It is not beautiful.  It is uninhabitable terror.  It is unthinkable darkness riven with unbearable light.  Agonized laboring led to it, vast upheavals of intergalactic space/time split apart, a wrenching and tearing of the very sinews of reality itself.  You can only cover your eyes and shudder before it, before this: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God… who for us and for our salvation,” as the Nicene Creed puts it, “came down from heaven.”  –-Frederick Buechner, Beyond Words    

For me, Christmas represents many mysterious truths.  The virgin birth to be specific.  It is also our annual reminder that the Son of God entered life as we know it.  It was that one certain moment when heaven and earth truly met at a sort of bizarre intersection.  God coming to earth.  The Creator visiting his creation.  The Savior fulfilling his mission to rescue the damned.  Go figure.

15  When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.   (-Luke 2:15-19, ESV)

A few years back, an acquaintance of mine brought to my attention his difficulty identifying with the idea that Jesus entered into the world on a silent night.  I’ve thought about that since.  Silence may have covered the hills of Bethlehem that magnificent night like a blanket covers a newborn baby.  You may have even been able to hear a pin drop on the floor of the stable if you listened close enough.  Even the livestock stood quietly by, not making a sound, bewildered no doubt.  But it was no silent world Jesus was entering.  Far from it actually.  It was a world much like ours. 

There was a massive census going on in Bethlehem and the hotels were booked—so much so that Mary and Joseph ended up in a barn.  People were waiting in line pushing their way to the front in order to be accounted for, moaning and mumbling the obscenities of the day I’m sure.  It was a world screaming with pain, suffering, torment, confusion, questions, and destruction.  A world overflowing with brokenness untold.  Lives, dreams, homes, bodies, relationships, hopes, and hearts torn apart.  It was a world littered with hate, war, murder, anguish, grief, confusion, sickness, and hostilities of every kind. 

These are the lives, places, and situations into which Jesus came.

And he still does today.

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