As Christians worldwide once again celebrate Christmastide, and the Incarnation of Christ, we are mindful of the fact that God became fully human, and engaged in the totality of the human experience. God the Creator, left the invisible world and the realm of the divine, and became fully en-fleshed in being human.
It’s one thing to be on the height of a mountain and look down at what lies in the valley, however from the height of that more inspired viewing point of what is below, you cannot actually see nor smell the lilies that are in the valley. You have to get close to the earth in order to experience those lilies. In the Incarnation, the invisible lily-maker became the One who experienced his human feet walking through them.
One of the great dangers that face those who truly believe in Christ and celebrate Christmas is to find reason to not get their hands dirty with the business of being human. The Story in Scripture is of a God who got dirty hands playing with mud and forming people who would be able to bear the divine image and likeness. When they were told to “rule” over the works of God’s hands, they were not being given a function as much as being given an identity of being royal, and being vice-regents of the splendor of everything from the dirt at their feet to the stars over their heads. All of this was theirs to creatively explore and experiment with and be innovative, in order to take the raw material of Creation and make a culture of regal beauty.
The God who became fully human in Christ is still looking, not for people to imitate Christ, but rather to incarnate Him. They aren’t called to run away from the culture, they are called to engage the culture with love, light, and even flavor (salt). The Church has found a multitude of reasons to disengage from culture, however it needs to be reminded that God sent Christ into the world not to condemn it, rather to bring it to divine safety (John 3:17). In the Incarnation, Jesus joined us exactly where we are in the dirt and mud of our combined beauty and brokenness, so too are we to connect with people where they are in all their beauty and brokenness without compromising the faith that we have been handed down, and invite them to experience God’s amazing grace.