“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” (Ph 2:5-8)
The reality of the Incarnation is one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian faith. If we don't stammer and stutter in its recitation, stumbling over ways to think about it, understand it, or explain it, we are probably not probing the mystery deeply enough.
God the Infinite, Divine, Eternal Beginning and the End, the Creator of all things, the Creator of time and space, who exists outside of time and space, takes to himself the nature of his creature.
He gave birth to the sky and the earth, the oceans and the mountains - all with only a thought, and then he made himself into one conceived in a womb and born to a man and a woman, in a tiny village in a specific year within history. He did this to be an icon of himself for our sake, and to unite himself to us in the deepest way possible in our human form.
God became one of us. He took on human flesh.
The Creator of all things made himself a creature.
The Eternal Word became enfleshed.
God becomes man so that man might become God. He is madly in love with us. Our very existence came to be because his infinite and overflowing love couldn't be contained within the Trinity but it spilled out of himself outwards, spreading to recreate itself in a form that could be received.
He made us out of his own image so that we could experience the freedom necessary to make the choice to love him out of that freedom, to share in his divine love. The human person is the satisfaction of God's infinite longing. God is the satisfaction of every person's infinite longing. Infinite longing itself was created in us to draw us back to the Infinite.
We don't really get it. We don't really understand how human God made himself! Jesus was a human baby! He was a human infant, a human child. Jesus lay motionless, totally dependent on his parents to do everything for him. Then as he grew, he learned to crawl, and eventually to walk. God nursed at the breast of a woman. God held the hand of his father to learn to walk. God felt all the feelings of human experience, from sadness and anger to humor and joy. He was hungry, full, tired, rested, enthusiastic, and annoyed.
We also don't get how our humanity is made in his image. The longing for infinity we encounter within ourselves is the very imprint of God's own inner life stamped into our hearts.
There is so much of our human experience we would accept more willingly if we truly knew that God himself felt these things. It is too easy to dismiss uncomfortable or negative experiences as “bad” or “wrong,” and many of us were raised to ignore, downplay, or repress certain facets of the human experience.
Joseph and Mary taught Jesus how to grow into his full humanity. They affirmed him for who he was, a human boy, and raised him into a human man. By God's design, God made himself subject to this life - this family life - and in doing so sanctified it and made it divine. Jesus made it possible for Mary and Joseph to grow into the divine destiny of their full humanity. He opens that door for all of us as well.
“Joyful night of Bethlehem! The skies are opened; the earth trembles; The Echoes of the universe repeat canticles of glory and of peace! ‘Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on Earth to men that are God's friends!’ In the midst of the night when everything is silent, the omnipotent Word descends from His royal abode. There was a hush of silence all around, and night had but finished half her swift journey, when from Thy heavenly throne, Lord, down leaped the Word omnipotent. Oh wonderful exchange! God becomes man to make us God-like. He becomes poor to make us rich. He shares our griefs to give us happiness! This marvellous exchange constitutes the basis of Christianity. It is the sublime thesis of Scripture. It is the Divine drama of History because it is the mystery of Christ.”
- Only Jesus, Luis Martinez