January 19, 2001

A dear friend sent this devotion to me and really "spoke" to me and I just want to share it with you, my friends.

Love, Sandy

"Jesus began to weep." John 11:35

The incarnation - the real Jesus - reveals the man who could hurt.

When Jesus heard the news of the death of his friend Lazarus, he wept.

He cried the same tears that any of us cry when we are faced with the incredible weight of that reality we call "death." Jesus wept - he hurt inside - his chest burned and hot tears ran down his face.

Jesus wept! He felt! He had emotions! That means that Jesus no doubt giggled at silly jokes and laughed out loud at good ones. He was sometimes surprised, baffled and bewildered. He was curious, elated, cautious, impulsive. He jumped, he ran, he stretched when he got out of bed in the morning and his feet ached when he laid down at night.

He was real! He wept real tears - whether or not he was embarrassed by them. That's what the incarnation means!

And it also means the he felt the excruciating pain of each lash that landed on his bare back at Pilate's command. It means that he choked back his cries when the nails were driven through his wrists and his feet. It means that real, red, hot blood ran down his arms when the crossbeam was dropped onto the tree of his crucifixion. And it means that when he took his last breath, it was in fact his last breath.

To say that the "Word became flesh and dwelt among us" means that Jesus really died on Calvary. And his limp, breathless, broken body was actually carried from a cross to a tomb.

To say that God became incarnate in the baby Jesus is to say that God truly did love us to the end.

We celebrate Christmas because the birth of that baby means that God really did show up that day, keeping the promises made to Abraham and Sarah - that there seed would be a blessing to ALL nations.

We celebrate Christmas because we are sinners, limited, finite, broken. And the weight of our sin is so terrible at times that we need to know there is someone who can take that burden off our shoulders, someone real, someone who understands, someone who knows us, someone who loves us.

Christmas tells us that we have such a God. And he was named "Jesus" because he would save us from our sins.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, what better way for us to usher in a new year than with a reminder of the simple good news. Martin Luther said that if Jesus wasn't God, he couldn't help us; and if he wasn't human, he couldn't know us. Christmas - the incarnation - tells us that he was both. Thank you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Pastor Kerry Nelson Covenant Lutheran Church


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