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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Incarnation

I've always liked that Bethlehem means "house of bread" in Hebrew. (Learning that almost made my years of Hebrew wothwhile...and that includes passing out during a final exam once!) There's something about having the Christ child born in a town named for "bread" that is wildly comforting out here on the prairie.

And, as you know, we make a big deal about tables, and out here in the prairie there is no table more important than a kitchen table. Out here, if there is a dining room table, we bring the cookware out on it, and make it a kitchen table...we love kitchen tables that much. At the kitchen table, of course, you get all the dinner preparations. And this time of year is famous for its dinners...

And this little baby in a manger is born into a world that likes dinner. Unlike gods, we humans have to eat (and, as Homer constantly reminds us in his stories, we are "slaves to the belly.") And God, in this case, arrives into our world as the food we eat. Partaking precisely in the gracious love of a God willing to live and be as one of us, we participate in the reality of God's eternity. This comes about, as we on the prairie are fond of saying, not because we participate in eternity, but because we eat the bread; that is, the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And this time of year we take that metaphor all the back to the beginning of our Lord and Savior's days on this planet, back to his birth in a manger (the table of cattle), back to the "house of bread," Bethlehem. Christ-mass (another meal term) celebrates a God who holds nothing back...a God who longs for human hope, human possibility to live and eat in the kingdom, not only here in history, but in eternity as well. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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