Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Matthew 1:18-24

Friends, the Gospel for today presents Matthew’s version of the Incarnation.

The central claim of Christianity—still startling after two thousand years—is that God became human. The creator of the cosmos, who transcends any definition or concept, took to himself a nature like ours, becoming one of us. Christianity asserts that the infinite and the finite met, that the eternal and the temporal embraced, that the fashioner of the galaxies and planets became a baby too weak even to raise his head.

And to make the humor even more pointed, this incarnation of God was first made manifest not in Rome, Athens, or Babylon, not in a great cultural or political capital, but in Bethlehem of Judea, a tiny outpost in the corner of the Roman Empire. 

One might laugh derisively at this joke—as many have over the centuries—but, as G.K. Chesterton observed, the heart of even the most skeptical person is changed simply for having heard this message. Christian believers up and down the years are those who have laughed with delight at this sacred joke and have never tired of hearing it repeated.

Reflect: Reflect on the nature of God’s love–that he would stoop down to become one of his creatures and be born into poverty and obscurity.

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