Is there a thought, a story, an event, something you heard about or saw with your own eyes, that when you recall it, still makes you stop? Something that still fills you with child-like wow? Still makes you wonder, marvel, want to say, wait did that really happen?
There is for me.
It came around just before this last Christmas season. I won’t say it snuck up on me, exactly, I mean, I saw it coming. But all the same it walloped me. Again.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
The Word became flesh. And dwelt among us.
The Word. The Second Personal Expression of God. The One through Whom all things were made. Wonderful Counselor. Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven. Messiah. Christ. Jesus of Nazareth. God with our skin and our bones and our muscles and our feelings.
Among us. Here. Not on my street, exactly, not even on a street like mine. But still here, walking and eating and enjoying cool breezy days and sweating when it was hot.
Listening and talking and telling stories and learning peoples’ names and generally acting like you and I might act in a similar situation.
It still grips me when I think about it, it seizes my imagination.
Full of Grace and Truth.
Grace. Mercy. Steadfast love. That conviction deposited deeply in a soul that whispers no matter what you’ve done, no matter how weak or limited or stupid or stubborn you are, you are truly loved. No matter what, you belong.
Truth. Things do matter. There is a better way and another way that is not better but worse, maybe much worse. Truth about God and us and the way the world works and doesn’t work and was meant to work and might work again.
Truth often causes us pain; but Grace helps us not waste it.
I recently told a group of therapists and ministry leaders, Jesus loves us as we are but never leaves us where we are.
I said that and then the Christmas season came and my wife set up the manger scene in my study and I was looking at it one night.
And the force of it hit me all over again. Word. Flesh. Us. Grace. Truth.
Who is this Creator that knows all of us, hears all of us, holds all life in his hands, continues all life by the force of his being and the breath of his mouth, who—while continuing to do all that—actually inhabited our limited space for a time—just exactly the way we inhabit it?
If he went to such extravagant lengths to reach us, why do we hold anything back from him?