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Astounding Incarnation

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Don't rush past the truth of christmas this year - the day man's maker was made man.

THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.

JOHN 1:14A

If you grew up going to church or have been a Christian for a while, I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard this verse a time or two. And, if you’re anything like me, maybe these words have become so familiar that you fly right by them, especially this time of the year. But the truth of the incarnation—that the Son of God took on human flesh and dwelled with us on earth—is utterly astounding.  

Let’s not rush past this wonder, but consider how the incarnation speaks to our weary souls today. 

The incarnation means that Jesus gets you. 

Jesus, because he is not just fully God but also fully human, has walked in our shoes. He didn’t just dip his toe into being human—he took on the fullness of our human nature, embracing all of the limits and weaknesses that we experience day in and day out. He knew what it was to learn to walk, to be utterly exhausted after a long day, to savor a good meal, to hear and enjoy music, to get a hug from his mom when he was hurt, to be betrayed by his friends.  

I’ll be honest, I struggle to wrap my mind around the day-to-day humanity of Jesus. I am much more prone to consider a sweet baby lying in a feeding trough and then skip ahead to when he was thirty and starting his public ministry. But there were thousands of days in between those milestones—days filled with the mundane realities of everyday life . . . just like us. 

What’s more, Jesus is no stranger to the joys and pains and temptations and struggles of life in our sin-sick world. Hebrews 4:15-16 says: 

"For we do not have a high priest [Jesus] who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." 

Because of his humanity, Jesus gets you. He knows what it is to be weak, to be finite, to be human. And the amazing thing is, he not only gets you, but he loves you and invites you to draw near to him with confidence, offering you mercy and grace in your time of need.  

When you feel discouraged about your limitations, or feel insecure, or feel like no one else on this entire planet really understands, remember Jesus—who is able to empathize with your weakness—and approach the throne of grace.

(CONTINUED BELOW) 

On the podcast

It's December! Merry Christmas! On today's Dwell Differently podcast episode we're diving into the beautiful truth that Jesus became human and made his dwelling among us.  Listen on your favorite podcast player - and leave us a review if you have a minute! We love hearing from you!

 

(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)

The incarnation shows that Jesus wants you in his family. 

God’s presence with his people is seen from the very first page of the Bible to the very last page of the Bible. We begin in the garden, where God created all that is and enjoyed walking with Adam and Eve. We were made to enjoy his presence. But not very far into the story, we see Adam and Eve trade their relationship with God for a lie—and the echoes of that choice are still heard (and felt) today.  

But here’s the thing: in the midst of that rebellion, God didn’t throw in the towel or write humanity off as not worth saving. Instead, he stuck to the plan—the plan he put in motion before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), the plan to restore our relationship with him, to once again allow us to experience his nearness without the distance caused by sin. Through the Old Testament, the nation of Israel would see glimpses of this nearness—in the burning bush, in the pillar of fire, in the tabernacle, in the temple. But all of this paled in comparison to the ultimate gift of his presence: Emmanuel, God with us. 

And amazingly enough, it gets even better. Not only does God draw near to us in Christ, he also invites us to become sons and daughters of God through Christ. Jesus wants you in his family. Earlier in John 1, we see that those who believed in Jesus’s name were given the right to become children of God. The plan that was set in place before the foundation of the world was a plan to adopt all who would believe into God’s own family through the fully human and fully divine Son of God. As C. S. Lewis so beautifully put it in Mere Christianity: “The Son of God became man to enable men to become the sons of God.” 

When you feel rejected or alone or insignificant, remember Jesus—undeniable confirmation that God desires to be near you. If you are in Christ, you are part of the family. Chosen. Wanted. Loved. 

The incarnation reminds us that Jesus calls us to become like him.  

In the way Jesus lived his human life, he opened a new way for us to live ours. A way no longer primarily focused on ourselves, but on others as we live our lives in worship of God. In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul encourages us to pursue radical humility—the same humility that the Son of God displayed when he was made in human likeness, became a servant, and was obedient unto death—all that we might live. 

This humility is a call to service, yes, and self-sacrifice, yes, but also to joy (Hebrews 12:2). You and I have been offered a life of freedom and satisfaction in exchange for our slavery and discontent. In fact, as Christ-followers, we were predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus, and one day to fully dwell in God’s presence again (Romans 8:29). Just as we were saved not by ourselves but because of Christ, so we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit as we grow in Christlikeness: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Not only does God call us to become like Jesus, he enables us to do it. 

When you feel frustrated by your selfishness and pride, remember Jesus. He offers a new way forward, a way of joy as we walk through the messy process of becoming like him. 

Dwell in Hope.     

This holiday season, let’s not speed past the wonder of the incarnation. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s slow down to ponder what it means for the Son of God to take on flesh and dwell among us. Consider the words of St. Augustine from the fourth century:

"Man’s Maker was made man, that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breasts; that the Bread might be hungry, the Fountain thirst, the Light sleep, the Way be tired from the journey; that the Truth might be accused by false witnesses…the Foundation be suspended on wood; that Strength might be made weak, that He who makes well might be wounded, that Life might die. He was made man to suffer these and similar undeserved things for us, that He might free us who were undeserving."

Knowing that Jesus took on flesh and made his dwelling among us—sinful and broken and helpless as we are—changes our everyday lives. And because he dwelled among us, we can dwell differently.

What is one practical thing you can do today to slow down and meditate on the wonder of the Incarnation?

How does knowing that the Son of God willingly took on flesh and became a human just like us change how you’re thinking about your own trials as a human?

Jesus calls us to follow him in radical, others-focused humility. How can you walk in the freedom of radical humility by the power of the Holy Spirit today? 

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay

Natalie Abbott Bio

Meet LINDSAY tully,Dwell guest writer

Lindsay is a wife to Matt, a mom to three kids, and a lover of coffee. She is passionate about life lived in community as we grow in glorifying God and enjoying him forever.

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