"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14).
Looking upon the Babe in the Manger we realize that there is something more to this scene than meets the eye – something awesome, staggering, and absolutely incomprehensible. Something mysterious, magnificent, and undeniably Divine. God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, has Himself become a man!
The word Incarnation comes from the Latin in carne, and it means “in the flesh.” Paul the Apostle wrote to Timothy, saying, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:16).
Church tradition holds that Four Homilies were preached on the four Sundays of the Advent season. The Third homily records a conversation between God and Gabriel concerning the Incarnation.
At one point Gabriel says, “Strange is this matter; passing comprehension is this thing that is spoken. He who is the object of dread to the Cherubim, He who cannot be looked upon by the Seraphim, He who is incomprehensible to all the heavenly powers – how can the womb contain Him who cannot be contained in space? How can the womb sustain the fire of divinity? Thy throne, O God, blazes with the illumination of its splendor, and can the virgin receive Thee without being consumed?”
According to the homily, the Lord answered that even as the bush in the desert was ignited with the fire of His presence and yet was not consumed, so would it be with Mary.
And is it yet possible for the Word to become flesh in you and me? Oh, not in the same manner as with Mary -- certainly not. But nonetheless, Christ may be made manifest in each one of us everyday in a number of ways.
The Word itself stirs us to this great longing -- "that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh!" (2 Corinthians 4:11).
In what ways might others see Jesus in you today?