The Incarnation: God became flesh and dwelt among us. The infinite, eternal God became one of us and fully entered into our human situation so that he might redeem us. I think we still have this mythological notion that if we are facing difficulties, feeling depressed and experiencing life’s unfairness then our Christmas will be ruined. I’m going to make a bold statement; it isn’t until we do experience these things that we will understand the true nature of the incarnation; that the God of the Stars has become the God of the brokenhearted.
The birth of Christ was revealed to the outcast, the old, the brokenhearted, and the dispossessed. This is the truth of the Christmas Story: God stooped so low in Jesus that no one is excluded from his grasp.
I want to take you back to Christmas Eve 1944. The place is the Dachau concentration camp where a German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemoller, has been held prisoner for seven years because of his involvement in the Confessing Church. Niemoller was the man who wrote the now famous “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out- because I was not a Trade Unionist. The they came for the Jews and I did not speak out- because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me.” Listen as Pastor Niemoller preaches to his congregation of skeleton-like figures huddled around him in their cold-dark bunk room:
God, the eternally wealthy and almighty God, enters into the most extreme human poverty imaginable. No man is so weak and helpless that God does not come to him in Jesus Christ, right in the midst of our human need; no man is so forsaken and homeless in this world that God does not seek him, in the midst of our human distress…This is what is so singularly peculiar in the Christian message of salvation, which tells us, “You need not go to search for God; you should not imagine that he is far from you and is not concerned with what crushes you! He is here and is close to you in the man who, as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, was lying in a manger. All your need is so far from being alien to him that on the contrary he gave himself freely to bear it with you.” Whoever can grasp this in faith is not forsaken in prison and in death; for in the worst darkness he may say, ‘Thou art with me; thy rod and staff they comfort me.
It is the people who walk in darkness who will see a great light. It the people who live in a land of deep darkness who will have a light shine upon them. (paraphrase of Isa. 9:2). O Blessed Incarnation!