I love this quote from C.S. Lewis on the Incarnation of Christ:
“In the Incarnation God the Son takes the body and human soul of Jesus, and, through that, the whole environment of Nature, all the creaturely predicament, into His own being. So that ‘He came down from Heaven’ can almost be transposed into ‘Heaven drew earth up into it,’ and locality, limitation, sleep, sweat, footsore weariness, frustration, pain, doubt, and death, are, from before all worlds, known by God from within. The pure light walks the earth; the darkness, received into the heart of Deity, is there swallowed up. Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?”
Over the last few years, the Incarnation has been an important meditation for me. It’s been a reality I often find myself astonished by whenever I think about what it means.
In plain terms, the Incarnation is when God took on Human flesh, and dwelt among us. Incarnation is the joyous announcement that God is not far away, rather He is, as Torrence writes, “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.” Christ is emanuel; the promise of the ever-closeness of God.
The high and mighty-eternal being bows low and intersects the fallen lowness of humanity. The eternal is subject to time, the mighty is subject to weakness, and the perfect God is subject to imperfect Humanity. God stoops low to rescue humanity in the Incarnation of Christ!
As St. Catherine of Siena writes:
“You, high eternal Trinity, acted as if You were drunk with love, infatuated with Your creature.. You, Sweetness itself, stooped to join Yourself with our bitterness. You, Splendor, joined Yourself with darkness; You, Wisdom with foolishness; You, Life with death; You, the Infinite, with us who are finite. What drove you to this?”
In the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus takes upon Himself our fallen Adamic nature- He carries it to the cross, and He destroys it. In the incarnation the whole limitation and fallenness of human sin was taken up into Christ and there solved. As Lewis said, “Where, except in uncreated light, can darkness be drowned?”
In the uncreated, eternal Light of Christ, coming to the earth, darkness is forever lost. In the black whole of the life of Christ, the lostness, fallenness and diseased state of humanity is lost once and for all. Joy to the world!
The fall of Adam can’t hold a candle to the fall of Christ. He stoops low, falling head long into our fallen existence, and He takes it all upon Himself to destroy it once and for all in His death.
The incarnation is the promise of new life. It is the blissful announcement of the end of sin’s tyranny. The incarnation is the announcement of our union with Christ, and our inclusion into the Trinitarian life of God. Christ has come, and nothing is the same! Life is bursting forth where the was death, light is destroying the darkness, and Christ is reigning over all.
As T.F. Torrence writes: “We are united to Christ who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and participate in the risen Humanity of Christ so that we are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.”
“He became what we are so that He might make us what He is.” Writes St. Athanasius
The coming of Christ is the stunning announcement of our union with the Son of God, and our inclusion into His life. He comes as we are so that we might be, in union with Christ, what He is. Glory!
May the Incarnation bring you joy this Christmas as you see the reality of Christ coming to earth. What a beautiful reality it is! God becomes a man, and dwells among us. Christ joins Himself to our fallen Adamic nature, and He swallows it whole. The fall is lost in the uncreated light of Christ! Death, and sin have been destroyed in the life of Christ- the uncreated light has come, and the earth is glad.
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the Woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface:
Stamp Thine image in its place;
Second Adam, from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
(Hark the Harold Angels Sing, lyrics)
Christ has come! Joy to the world! The promise of eternal union, the promise of freedom from sin and death, the promise of salvation!
Merry Christmas! :)
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