When my kids were younger, we’d dress up and play make-believe games where superheroes conquered bad guys and princesses ruled over the extravagant castles. We’d dress up in character, make forts, and enjoy the afternoon in another world. But after the playtime was over, we’d get out of our costumes and go back to “normal.”
Christmas is the time when we dwell on how God has pursued humanity to the point of becoming human. As Eugene Peterson phrased it in The Message, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14). Essentially, God decided to dress up in a body – the infinite became the finite infant. But what strikes me is that Jesus never went back to “normal.” We tend to think of Jesus’ time on earth as the only time he was human. We imagine that after he ascended to heaven he changed back to his preincarnate state – but that’s not the case. Jesus never changed out of his humanity. He never ditched his body and stopped being the God-man. Certainly his body was changed at the resurrection (just like ours will be), but he is in his resurrected glorified body in heaven right now. He is still human!
That God would not only take our frame, but keep our frame, is astonishing. What love, grace, and mercy. And what sacrifice. If that doesn’t affirm the goodness and dignity of humanity, I’m not sure what would. As Charles Wesley so poignantly stated, God was “pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.” Incarnation was a price God himself paid because of love and it was an act so audacious that it still causes all of the heavenly realm to stand in awe (1 Peter 1:12).
REFLECT + RESPOND
Take some time today and ponder Jesus’ scars still on his hands, feet, and side today in heaven. They are a display of his love for you.
By Ryan Paulson