What happened at Christmas was more than a birth. It was the union of God and man “without confusion, change, division or separation,” (Chalcedon Creed). It was “God and man . . . the substance of the Father begotten before the worlds, (and) the substance of his Mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect Man,” (Athanasian Creed). The shepherds, the baby and the wise men are what we remember. But this is what makes us think. This is bigger than the story. In the incarnation God begins to unite two previously divided entities. He not only comes “down” to earth (He becomes like us), He also takes earth “up” into the heavens (we become like God). He not only reveals the Father to the sons; He also reconciles the sons to their Father (John 1:12). Christmas is the story, but the incarnation is the plot because it is larger and more mystical, deeper and dynamic. Christmas happened, but the incarnation is still happening all throughout the New Testament and even today. If we forget this, as we’re prone to do, we’ll lose the plot in the story; we’ll lose the incarnation in, of all places, Christmas.
Week 1 “Incarnate” Luke 1:26-35; 1 Timothy 3:16. Rev. Steve DeNeff
In this opening message, we’ll introduce the concept and the language of the incarnation, then show how important it is, and what potential it opens to all humanity, especially those who believe. We’ll distill the meaning of the incarnation into a handful (4-5) of axioms that summarize its mystery (i.e. that it not only happened; it is happening) so we can begin to see the powerful implications of it. The outcome, I hope, is that a spirit of reverence and awe would sweep over us and call us to authentic worship. O come let us adore Him.
Week 2 “The New Normal” Matthew 1:18-23; Romans 12:1-2. Rev. Steve DeNeff
The first and most obvious implication of the incarnation is what it means for human flesh. Contrary to the idea that to “err is human,” the incarnation declares it is not, for even in his humanity, he did not sin. Indeed, the more we sin, the less human we become. It is not normal to sin, and it never was. This message will call us to a new normal, “The humanity of Christ,” and encourage us to live with some things we keep trying to get rid of, and to get rid of other things we seem too happy to live with. The outcome here is a call to embrace our humanity – all of it – with a commitment to holy living.
Week 3 “Being the Body” Job 1:1, 6-12; Revelation 12:1-12. Dr. Dave Smith
Why does our language on earth, both inside the church and without, sound more like the accusations of the evil one than the grace-filled whispers of Jesus into the ears of the Father? (Have you watched any news program recently; we yell at one another and try to destroy one another) The words we share with one another, both in content and in form, should be the re-creative and transformational ones which paint the new reality of heaven rather than the false depictions of Satan. How many of us are living in literal captivity to a lie rather than set free by the Words of heaven? We need to Gospel (make it a verb) one another with Good News…pouring it over each other like anointing oil.
Week 3 “The Dwelling” John 1:1-5, 14; Philippians 2:1-8. Rev. Beau Hamner
For God so loved the world that He gave his only son. He didn’t “like” us on Facebook. He didn’t “click here” to show his support. He came and lived among us. He moved in. He took up our infirmities. He became what we are. He showed us that His comfort was worth sacrificing for our benefit. To be incarnate, then, is to be fully present in the community where we live, engaging in sacrificial love for the benefit of our neighbors. This message will explore what it means to belong, incarnate, to the community where we live and give us a list of practical things we can do to truly live among them. The outcome, I hope, will be an increase in the number of people who serve the community outside our church.