“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down . . .” Isaiah 64:1
Who of us, at holiday time, have not felt trapped by the tinsel? On the surface, the lights twinkle and music of winter wonderland fills the air, but underneath the gold and glitter, there’s a harsh, cold reality. One which makes us want to shout. If we tell the truth about what we think and feel, who hasn’t wanted to shout “Why don’t you get real God? Why don’t you get down here and do something about the mess we’ve made of things!”
We begin our advent journey with the Old Testament prophet Isaiah shouting “If only you would tear open the heavens and come down!” God answers Isaiah’s plea, God descended into the real stuff of our lives, into a world where children lose their parents, where parents lose their jobs, where families lose their home. God comes down in flesh where love gets nailed to a cross. The Savior is born into this world where every last one of us is lost, confused, disoriented and in desperate need of saving. God is with us in Jesus Christ.
God’s arrival on earth in Jesus Christ was not just to make life a little bit better. God came down in Jesus to set us free to live in this world the way Jesus did, which was the costly way of reconciling love, relentless hope and reverberating joy. God came down to live with us so that we could live like Him. God came down to save us from violence, by showing the way of peace. To save us from greed, by showing us sacrifice. To save us from our addictions, by showing us the way of self-giving love. To save us from sin, by showing the way of forgiveness. To save us from death, by showing us the way to life.
Answer these questions:
What does it mean for you to say that God came down in Christ to save us?
When have you had an experience of Christmas that left you amazed at the meaning of the incarnation?