In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

(John 1:1, 14, NKJV)

Lately I’ve been turning around in my head and heart what it means to follow Jesus, and fall into this story written by One who chose not to retreat from the messy broken hostile world, but to enter right in– moving into the neighborhood and becoming our neighbor.

It’s a story of a God who loves this world so much, that God enters his-story to bring us a new possibility of healing and life– teaching us how to love and be a neighbor in our local contexts. In Jesus, Love takes on flesh, that we might know God’s way is possible and grace our imaginations.

In Jesus, this man who built things with his carpenter hands with his dad, ate food, pooped, hugged his mother, studied the Scriptures, hung out with friends, went to some pretty challenging places and had to make some personal decisions about how he would live his daily life that did not make him so popular– abstract words like love, mercy, peace, grace and forgiveness became flesh that we might know, as visual people, how to live and that it is possible by the grace of God working within us to embody love, mercy, peace, grace and forgiveness.

The Word becomes flesh, that we might learn how to be God’s– be love in our every day walk in our city’s, in our neighborhoods.

Such love and thoughts of such an awesome God absolutely positively blows my mind in so many ways.

As Rev. Samuel T. Loyd III, dean of Washington National Cathedral preached one Christmas,”It is a love that is at the very heart of the universe that comes into our lives not just once, but again and again.” It comes to heal our personal and communal wounds, give us the foundation & strength to follow in the midst of our fears, breaks down the selfishness that builds walls between us and our neighbors so that this same Love can draw us daily closer to God, to each other and to ourselves.

Ah, such love.

I pray that the story of such Love entering into the world does not get so familiar, commercialized and watered down that we ignore the radical implications and saving grace being grafted into such a story it has upon our lives. May it not become so familiar, along with the other parts of our story, we can forget to be awed, challenged and swept away by it. This is my Christmas prayer and Advent hope. May someone out there in my community not let me forget it and hold me accountable as we journey this way together.

“Lord, what you call compassion, others call weakness. What you call conviction, others call dissidence. What you call love, others call mixing with sinners. We pray that we too might be found weak, dissident and in bad company, especially if it means we are closer to you. Amen.”

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals