Posted on in Blog by The Rev. David Marshall
Christmas is about God with us. That is why the birth of a baby to Mary and Joseph two millennia ago is so very important. Christmas is the celebration of the holy expressed and experienced through us.
All the ways that we encounter God are incarnate. They are all real, in the flesh experiences. We see God’s loving hand in snow covered mountains and the flowers of spring. We recognize God in the miracle of birth and in the dignity and beauty of a holy death.
We experience God in relationship. Jesus tells us to love one another as he has loved us. The love that we both give and receive is our most direct experience of God. What can be more incarnate than to love one another? When we look for God in one another we transform our relationships.
Perhaps that is why Christ is most powerfully, beautifully and meaningfully present to us when we seek God by serving the poor. Anyone who has gone on a mission trip to meet and serve the poor knows what I am talking about. Anyone who has helped feed the hungry at one of our weekly community dinners has encountered the spirit of Christ embodied in the people who come to be fed.
Our worship is specifically designed as an encounter with God. At its best, worship encompasses all the ways of encountering Christ in the flesh. We experience the beauty of creation in the art and the music of our worship. We have the liturgy of the Word in which we come to know God as revealed in the scriptures. We have the prayers of the people in which we pray for the poor, suffering, and marginalized people of the world. When we share Holy Communion, we are the reality of the presence of Christ known and expressed in community. When we take communion together we strengthen ourselves to do Christ’s work in the world. All of these acts and rituals are incarnate. We worship in the flesh and in our worship, as in our relationships and service to those in need, we encounter Christ.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, my prayer is that the Christ in thee will meet the Christ in me. May we all know the presence of God and share that loving presence through our lives.
Yours in Christ,