Advent Day 4 ~ Our God becomes flesh

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

IToday, let’s reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation ~ the Christmas portion of our faith. (Again if you don’t accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power and it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as man.  If you look at the word “Incarnation” you’ll recognize the word  “carnal” ~ meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh.

“He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are” (Philippians 2). The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one of us and with us.

God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks. Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin; i.e. unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

“Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.”

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

(Please take a moment to read over this a couple of times to get the full import of what St. Gregory is saying in his poetry.)

And if you’re new to this Advent blog,  or would like a refresher, I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here.  Please read this! I just re-read myself and you know what? It even motivated me to do this Advent even better! So I encourage ya to read it; it’s been updated too.   (And once again, don’t forget to click on the < back arrow on the top left-hand corner of your browser so you can come right back to this page!)

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you, embrace you, heal your heart and transform your life as it has mine.   

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas. Here’s a wonderful hymn that supports today’s theme: “Let all mortal men keep silence. Click here.

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d care to reflect on them. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

Advent Day 4 ~ Our God becomes flesh (and Day 3 of Hanukkah)

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent

If you’re new to this Advent blog,  I recommend reading Welcome to Advent.Click here to get an overview of the Advent season.

Today, let’s reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation ~ the Christmas portion of our faith. (Again if you don’t accept this as an article of faith, then just consider it as a beautiful story; it still has power and it still can have tremendous meaning for you.)

St. John says “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus saves us as man.  If you look at the word “Incarnation” you’ll recognize the word  “carnal” ~ meat, flesh.  Our God became flesh.

“He emptied himself of his equality with God and became as humans are” (Philippians 2).The Father sent his Son into our world to identify with us. To become one of us and with us. God likes us ~ the human race! In Jesus, a marriage is made between God and the human race. 

But this article of our Christian faith often doesn’t dawn on folks.  Many think he was just play-acting ~ pretending to be human.

I offer this passage  (excerpted) from St. Gregory Nazianzen, bishop and doctor of the church in the fourth century from the Advent Office of Readings:

(Please take a few moments to read over this a couple of times to get the full import of what St. Gregory is saying in his poetry.)

He [Jesus] takes to himself all that is human, except sin; i.e. unfaithfulness).

He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit.

Spirit gave divinity, flesh receives it.

He who makes me rich is made poor;

he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of divinity.

He who was full is made empty;

he is emptied for a brief space of glory, that I may share in his fullness.

We need God to become one of us and with us.

To help us like and love ourselves.

To realize that Love and Beauty and all good things are our destiny.

To invite us to our future instead of destroying ourselves.

If only we believed.

If only we believed.

Take time today to allow this story of God’s love affair with the human race to touch you, embrace you, heal your heart and transform your life as it has mine.  And continues to do so, day after day after day because, if you’re like me, I really, really, really like being caught up in Love!  

The season of Advent is about preparing our hearts once again for a deeper experience of Christ at Christmas.  We want to keep Christ in Christmas.  This goes contrary to our world that insists that it’s a “Holiday” season.  Here’s a great Christmas song that illustrates the point from a group that calls themselves (get this) ACLU.  You’ll want to turn up your speakers and enter full screen for this one! Click here.

And here are today’s Mass readings, if you’d care to reflect on them. Click here.

With love,

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

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The Birthday of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

While all things were

      in quiet silence,

And that night was

      in the midst of

   her swift course,

Thine Almighty Word,

           O Lord,

Leaped down out

of thy royal throne,

                            Alleluia! 

~ And the Word became flesh and lived among us.  John 1:14

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WE Christians tend to sentimentalize the Christmas story. 

And yet the whole message is there beneath the charming Christmas pageants with the cute little girls holding baby dolls and boys dressed up in bathrobes as St. Joseph.

Yes, it’s all there. Now let’s think about what it means.

John sums the whole story in one sentence(!) saying the Word became flesh and lived (dwelt) among us”  or as the Greek word actually translates as “pitched his tent among us.”  Thus, he intended to move in with us and stay with us a while!

He is Emmanuel ~ God  with us!

Now there are two words here that Christians generally don’t like.  One is “flesh” as in “the world, the flesh and the devil.”  And the other is in the middle of the Christmas part of our faith story in theology. That theological word is “Incarnation. The “carn” part is carnal.  A lot of Christians don’t like that word.  We think it ~ um ~refers to sin!

But there you are, folks “flesh” and “carnal” referring to what our God has taken upon himself.

 Let’s look at what this charming Christmas story means ~ what its implications mean for your life today . . . .

If God accepted our “fleshiness” (by becoming flesh, by taking on a human body) – then so we should (must)  accept our own bodies and, yes, our sexuality, our “fleshiness.”

This was the reason he became Man: to throw his lot with the human race and show us how to  become fully human, fully alive!

Dear Friends,

Our waiting is over.

Christmas is here

I think I’m ready to receive whatever gift Jesus chooses to give me this Christmas.

Christmas is not about giving. It’s about receiving. Receiving as Mary received.  

Open your heart, dear friend.  

Take some quiet time today and tomorrow to prepare yourself to be ready receive . . . .

Just be receptive to God as Mary was. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.” 

And I pray so very earnestly that you receive the special gift God wishes to give you.

Cleanse your heart of resentments ~ of preoccupations with unnecessary things.

Ask yourself what really is the meaning of life ~ your life.

For me the answer is to love as best I can.

I also have some wisdom to share that arises out of  my own crosses I’ve carried over the years.

But it’s all gift!

So, I hope you have received something nourishing and sweet in the 22 posts I’ve been able to create this Advent.

They are my gift to you.

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

And if your Christmas is lonely with no one really special with whom to share,

know that you have someone here who understands and who reaches out to you from my heart to yours.

And be sure to open yourself to the holiness ~ the wholeness ~ the peace of Christmas.

It is there beneath all the craziness and hype.  It is yours if you seek it and ask for it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of good will!

Here is a very special Christmas music video for you. Click here. Be sure to turn up your speakers and enter full screen.

If you would like the Scripture readings for the Scripture readings for any of the several Masses for Christmas. Click here. You’ll find a list of the Vigil, Mass at Night, at Dawn, etc.; click on the one(s) you want.

With love, 

Bob Traupman

contemplative writer