A Meaty Christmas


By Brad Hauge

meaty-christmasI am a fan of the Advent season. I am grateful to have both grown up in a family and a church tradition that emphasize participating in the holiness of this season and making space to expectantly wait. I love the tension that exists in the very idea that we are to wait expectantly. I love the aesthetics of the season: the candles, the songs, the decor, the congruent rhythms of bustle and silence, and the meditation on peace, joy, hope, and love. I love that we are reminded to slow down and ponder the meaning and implications of an incarnate God.

Incarnate is one of those very church-y words that many of us nod our heads at and pretend to understand when we totally don’t. Which also means the kids in our youth groups probably don’t have much of a grasp on its meaning either. So let’s take a moment and simplify this church-y word. The Latin word “incarnare” means “to make flesh.” (If you speak Spanish, you will recognize “carne” as the word for “meat.”) So when we say that Jesus is God incarnate, we simply mean that God was made flesh: that God became human.

My friend Jeremy Williamson once encouraged those of us who engage in Advent to do so in this way:

“As we take a month to ponder the meaning and implication of an incarnate God, I think it is a good time to start taking the notion of incarnation seriously. If God truly became a human, what did he teach us about being truly human? What does he still teach us? How are we to treat our neighbor? How are we to treat our family? How are we to treat ourselves? How are we to treat our worst enemy? These are all questions that lead us to ponder a love that is deeper and richer than we have become accustomed to.”

When we allow ourselves to see each other through the truth of the incarnate God, it must change the way we see each other. The way we see the other

When we allow ourselves to wrestle with the questions above, it forces us to not simply allow Baby Jesus to stay in the manger, but allow him to be incarnate with us today.

When we allow ourselves to embrace the mystery of the incarnation, we are allowing ourselves to realize that if God became one of us, being human is a sacred thing.

When we allow ourselves, truly allow ourselves, to see our own humanity as a sacred thing, it then forces us to see that the same incarnate God is making every other human a sacred thing.

May this season of Advent be a time we take the above questions, and their implications, seriously. May we be bold enough to wrestle with them and invite those to whom we minister to do so as well. May we keep these questions in front of us not just during the season of Advent, but also during your season of The 30 Hour Famine; the transformative implications will be as compelling then as they are now.

If we believe that God came down in the human form, then being human is a sacred thing. May we treat each other as though we believe that.