the humanity of Christmas

The heart of the Christmas celebration should be the Incarnation, the coming of God to earth in becoming fully human in Jesus. We understand from the Book of Hebrews that God needed to become human, the Word made flesh for humankind’s salvation. And this salvation is nothing less than a new humanity in Jesus. In Jesus true humanity as God intended it to be and become is restored. Of course that involves a process now for all who are in Jesus.

Humanism has taken root in the world apart from Jesus, but as J.I. Packer once wrote: Christianity is the true humanism. Yes, we become more and more like Jesus in our humanity. Someday we will be just like him apart from his Deity (God-ness). We share in the life of God, but are not part of God himself. God’s life becomes ours, within our human essence. In some way perhaps the air we humans breathe is from God’s life breath. One might argue that from Genesis, as well as from Colossians. There is no doubt, as I heard this week, that God making humankind in his own image goes on today in the new creation in Jesus. To be more and more human then, is to become more and more like God.

Jesus was born of a virgin, so that the conception by the Holy Spirit is what we would call miraculous. But apart from that all else is natural.

I weary of spiritualities which seem to me to default on being something more or less than human. They have gnostic tendencies, supposing the need to make much of “the inner man” at the expense of the body, or whatever. This kind of spirituality lends itself to an air that seems super spiritual, but is nothing of the kind. I’ve seen these kind looking to me quite pretentious, staring right through you supposedly. Or given to an air of heightened seriousness which smugly, or at least often condescendingly looks down on others.

But the grace of God in the truth as it is in Jesus is not this way at all. It is fully human. Always completely dependent on God and interdependent on humans, particularly others who are in Jesus.

God become human in his Son Jesus. So that he can fully identify with us. That we might be in him and he in us. Living a lowly life as one of us, and dying a cruel death for us. Then risen to new life, a life we in Jesus partake of now, a life in which humanity is taken to its destiny. Which means the full maturation of humanity in the new humanity in Jesus.

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