Beauty for Jacked Up Places {Advent}

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14.

The incarnation is beautifully perplexing.

Beautiful because God—the Holy One—came and made Himself one of us. Perplexing because, well, why? Why would the Holy One do such a thing? Why would He do such a thing in such a way?

I confess these questions are born of my ego. Despite my being outspoken, I’m not outgoing. I’m an introvert. I like my space. I enjoy quiet. I would never choose to go and live among a people. And if I did, I would make sure that I created many boundaries. I would establish quickly how I was not one of them. No, no, no, don’t get too attached, I’m just visiting.

See, for the introvert, being “in the world, not of it” is a welcomed anthem. We have got mad skills for allotting just the right ratio of “in the world” time. The rest we apportion to solitude, people-free.

It’s not that the introvert doesn’t love people. Or that they don’t enjoy time with people. We do. It’s more that we find people exhaust us and we like to conserve our energy for books and thinking and quiet dreaming.

So the incarnation—the becoming like us and dwelling among us—perplexes me. 

Yesterday I spent my day——with people. Breakfast with a treasured friend. Shopping at the mall…with people who were coughing and sneezing and pushing and complaining and grabbing and blocking the aisles while talking on their cell phones {Really, people, this habit has to end!} and taking up two parking spaces with one car. Then dinner in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the boy’s 19th birthday with his friends. The day was overflowing with hugs, smiles, and memories.

Checking my email just before I melted into a puddle of exhaustion, I read these words from a friend, “This place is jacked up.” She was referring to here—Earth— our countries, our cities, our homes, our churches, our schools, and yes, our hearts. In fact, many of these places—all of them, in fact—are jacked up. Jacked up with sin and the sometimes lovely, other times annoying people who do the sinning.

Jesus came to a jacked up place.

When I think about how jacked up things are, I’m glad I’m an introvert. I take my cup of coffee and my sweet, quiet little dreams and retreat.

The introvert would have gone about the incarnation differently precisely because of the jacked up places.  The introvert would have planned his entrance in the backroom of a bookstore—you know the place where everyone minds their own business. There would have been no visitors. Heavens, absolutely no star or angels heralding his arrival.  It would have been completely quiet, unannounced, hopefully unnoticed. And life would be lived the same way too. There would be a healthy distance from all the jacked-upped-ness of Earth. Shake a few hands. Attend the party for a few short minutes, make a quiet escape. Promise a lot of coffees, but have “something come up.” Show concern with a short text message every now and again.

Theologically, we all see the problem with this, which is also why we can all see the beauty of the Incarnation. We humans—introvert or extrovert—will never perfectly relate to one another. But the beauty of the Incarnation is the perfect relationship within the Trinity flowing out and over to man.

The Word became flesh and dwelled among exhausting, jacked up people.”

Jesus came and dwelled as one of us. He became one of us. That sentence right there, the one you just read, is the most profound sentence you will ever read on this site. It wasn’t enough that Jesus be among us, He became one of us. That, my friends, is love in its purest form. That is what I believe John means when he writes, “we have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son.

In our Advent waiting, we witness the incredible, how-can-one-even-begin-to-describe-it beauty of God’s love for a jacked up world. He didn’t draw back or away from the despair of humanity. Instead, He embodied it. Placed Himself in it. Love is all in like that. He is our Has Come {because of love} King and Coming Again {because of love} King. He has entered the jacked up places. He continues to be present in the jacked up places with His grace and His truth. And when He comes again the jacked up places will be no more!

Why? You ask. Because that’s what loves does. Love enters. Love dwells. Love remains. Love never fails. Our Has Come and Coming Again King is love.  

”My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people”
 Ezekiel 37:27.

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