Advent is here. A holy season of waiting … watching … preparing.
As I often do, I found myself pondering the idea of incarnation as I prepared for the Advent Season.
Incarnation comes from the Latin; in + carne.
Literally, in meat.
We like the word “flesh” in the church instead of meat. Because the language of meat is too earthy, too distracting, too much like the language we use every day.
But every time I explain the word incarnation to someone, I do it in the same way.
“What is chili con carne?”
“Chili with meat.”
In-carne is exactly what it sounds like: God in-meat.
We like to sanitize our faith.
To use “church words” that are nice and neat and only have meaning inside the church.
Not the words we use every day.
We depict the crucifixion in our churches and it is bloodless and serene. We certainly don’t use words like “lynching” to describe it, because that is too bloody and violent.
We imagine a “Silent Night,” instead of the bloody screams of childbirth and the wailing of a healthy newborn child.
The problem is that we live a meaty life.
It’s messy. Bloody. Complicated. Unsanitized.
And then we come to church and worship a God who is neat and tidy … and nothing like our ordinary lives.
The whole point of Advent, of Christmas, of Jesus Christ is that God has come to live among us as one of us.
Right into the middle of the mess!
We need a meaty God!
This Advent, I invite you to ponder with me the meaning and impact of a Dios con Carne.
If (in Jesus) God has a body like ours, what does that mean about our bodies?
If the invisible God is known best through a tangible body, what does that mean for how we connect with God in our spirituality and lives?
How can we take the image of the incarnation down from the clean altar of our churches, and learn to meet the Dios con Carne in our everyday lives?
Set aside time each week and immerse yourself in the earthy, meaty, messy story of the incarnation. Learn to open your eyes and your heart to see all the ways that the God who became human meets us in the meaty messy middle of life.
Worship with us Sundays at Spirit of Joy! – both online and in person.
Download the SOJOY app by searching for “Spirit of Joy!” in your app stores, or follow our Advent series on the congregational Facebook page
- Advent 1 (Nov 28): “It is Good!”
- Advent 2 (Dec 5): “Let’s Get Physical”
- Advent 3 (Dec 12): “Emmanuel”
- Advent 4 (Dec 19): “I Saw the Sign”