He had to be made like them, fully human in every way. . . .
— Hebrews 2:17
In the Christmas song “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” we might recognize the words “veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity.” And if we’re in a thoughtful mood, we might wonder at the mystery of the Word becoming flesh, of God becoming one of us.
In a sermon years ago, I quoted from a song called “One of Us.” In its own way, the song wonders about the incarnation: “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” I got in trouble for that. I was told, “God is not a slob!” Well, of course not.
Yet there is something scandalous about the incarnation, isn’t there?
We know what it’s like to be embodied creatures. Sure, there’s the “glory and honor” of being human (Psalm 8:5): the beauty and strength and intelligence. But there’s also the other side: the homeliness, the weakness, the aches and pains. And there’s the harsh truth that sometimes we are slobs.
That’s why we can’t imagine God really becoming one of us. God is lovely and lofty, perfect and pure. How could such a God get mixed up in the mess of being human, as human as any of us? But that’s the truth and the scandal of the incarnation. The eternal Son of God abandons the perfections of divinity to take on the flaws of humanity. And he does it out of love.
Jesus, we can hardly imagine what you gave up to take on what we know in our bones. But that’s what you did for us, and we are amazed. Amen.