Friday, December 3, 2010

Celebrating God Incarnate

contributed by Yeon Joo

A couple of years ago, I was faced with the challenge of explaining to a North Korean refugee the meaning of Christmas. It started off as a simple Christmas party invitation. But then she asked, "What are you celebrating at the party?" and it all became unraveled.The conversation pretty much ended with the statement, "So Christmas is like when North Koreans celebrate the birth of our Leader, Kim Jong Il."

So is it? Is celebrating the birth of Jesus any different than celebrating the birth of any other major world leader?
"I am the way the truth the life" (John 14:6). The birth of Jesus means something different for me because I believe that Jesus is truth.

In Colossians Remixed, Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat have this to say about Jesus, our Truth: "Remember, from a biblical perspective truth is not a correspondence between ideas and facts. Truth is embodied in a person. If incarnate truth is to be known in its fullness, then it must be met in the flesh." For me, the miracle of Christmas is this. Truth came down to be met in the flesh. He showed us what it means to live truthfully - feeding the hungry, healing the sick, becoming friend to the friendless, loving extravagantly. I believe this to be good news.

I believe that we, Christians, are called to be witnesses of the truth and hosts of the celebration, a party in which everyone is invited to join in. But when my North Korean friend looks at the body of Christ, what does she see? Do we embody the good news? Walsh and Keesmaat write: "If this truth is not enfleshed in our lives and in the community that claims to bear witness to it, then it quite literally becomes unknowable to us. We cannot know this truth, we are stripped of assured understanding, because - well, we can't see it. In this respect, seeing - experiencing, touching, and feelings - is indeed believing" (Walsh & Keesmaat, p.130).

Advent for me is a time for us to consider again, how incarnate truth can be enfleshed in our lives. What can our Christian community do and how can we live the gospel so that truth can be seen and believed?

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