Human Frailty & the Glory of the Incarnation

The alarm buzzed somewhere beyond my comprehension and wrestled me from my sleep. Weary, groggy, and just a big achy, I gathered myself up, and switched on the light. Shuffling to the kitchen, I started turning over in my mind the day’s to-do list: I need to first make coffee, I need to check to see how the bread dough rose overnight, I need to put the bread in the oven. Filling the kettle to boil water for our french press, I twisted my neck back and forth. Each time I stretched it one direction, my muscles pulled in the other. I put the kettle on the heat, my stomach growled.


Morning moments can be incredibly human. We wake to the day with a reminder of what it means to be created creatures. We wake from sleep with weariness still unshaken from our bones. Even after hours – yes, hours – of sleep, we wake to the reminder that our bodies, more often than not, want or need more. Intrinsic to our being is our inability to stay awake or go without sleep.  We crave it, need it, love it, and require it. And while we might stay away for all daylight hours, our day repeatedly reminds us of our other limitations: we must eat. So, we whisk and stir and bake and simmer. We tend our gardens and fill our shopping baskets, then chop and mince and sear. And when we’ve filled our plates and emptied them with satisfaction, we know: we will soon need to fill them again.


It is in these human moments that we are aware of what it means to be a created creature, and the humbling reality of our frame. We are limited. We are frail. We are needy. We are human.


In the midst of this humbling reminder, we unearth a glorious truth: God is not. Our God is not created, but Creator (Genesis 1:1). He does not sleep or slumber (Psalm 121:4). He does not take time off (Psalm 127:1-5). God does not require food to sustain Him, and He does not subsist on the sacrifices of men. He is Self-sustaining, Self-governing, and Self-existing (1 Timothy 1:17). Over all and in all, He rules supremely, needing help from no one (Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:10). He is God.


And this very good God, the One who exists outside of our humanity, who formed our flesh in His kindness and creativity, is the One who desired to be in right relationship with us frail creatures. In His infinite mercy and generosity, He wanted us as His friends and children. And as we could not go to Him, He came to us – as very human. To be in relationship with you and I, our limitless God took on the boundaries of created time, our boundless God took on the limitations of flesh and bones. Christ came to us in our own frailty, in the humiliation of our humanity. For His hungry children, He became hungry. For His weary world, He became weary. For His needy children, He submitted Himself to a body that would need and want and require all of the things that make us very human. God came to us and became human.


The Incarnation is not just for Advent or Christmas Day, but for our very ordinary morning moments. When we feel the ache of our slowly dying frame, we can be reminded: this flesh-and-blood form was taken on by our God, giving significance and meaning and fullness of our humanity. Christ became intrinsically, irreversibly human, dying our death and raising to life again so that humanity might enter God’s perfect presence once again. This is the dawn we eagerly await, even this morning. Glory be to the Incarnated God!

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