Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Unbelievable Craziness of Incarnation

I don't care if you call yourself a believer or not: there's a certain craziness in saying that 2000 years ago, around the 25th of Kislev, the God who thought the entire Universe into being chose to become a baby human in a nondescript village called Bethlehem on a fairly nondescript planet called Earth.

The Incarnation is indeed crazy.

And is it not, therefore, exactly what we'd expect?

Because it's one thing to say that God is Love. And mean by that the kind of syrupy impersonal karma that seems to underlie all these Christmas specials where the "true meaning" of this holy day is revealed as "sharing", "caring", or any number of concepts that couldn't be more adequately explained by a nice episode of Barney.

But it's another thing to really mean God is Love.

Because there isn't a real love in the world--romantic, parental, filial, friendship--that doesn't involve a bit of crazy.

Every good story of love has it: the beloved following each other to the ends of the earth, sacrificing everything, daring and doing things far beyond normal human endurance. Caution is thrown to the wind, death is stared right in the face. The greater the crazy, the greater the love that it indicates. But we don't only find it in dramatic, cinematic experiences either. Just the mere fact that one human being has a mystical affinity to some other human being--that particular face, that particular smile, that particular laugh in ways that often make little sense to anyone else--I'm not sure we can ever explain that fact biologically with the same simple truth as the plain phrase "he's crazy about her." It may not be logical. It may not be sensible. But it's right.

In love, the impossible becomes possible. The unbelievable comes true. An ordinary person becomes an extraordinary treasure that nothing on earth could ever replace.

And it's in that context we must understand the Incarnation.

Is it crazy that God became man? You bet.

But as long as there's a thing called Love in the world, we would expect no less.

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