Advent is a season of preparation because it is also a season of anticipation—a glorious gift is coming soon and we want to be ready to receive it! In the prologue to his gospel, the apostle John proclaims the miraculous truth of the incarnation, the gift of God with us in human form:
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known (John 1:14, 18 NRSV).
Because God became human, we can see and know God in the person of Jesus. We can also rely on the fact that God knows us. He understands how we feel because he has faced what we face, including weakness, testing, and suffering. Author C. S. Lewis elaborates on the vital importance of this truth:
God could, had he pleased, have been incarnate in a man of iron nerves, the Stoic sort who lets no sigh escape him. Of his great humility he chose to be incarnate in a man of delicate sensibilities who wept at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane…He has faced all that the weakest of us face, has shared not only the strength of our nature but every weakness of it except sin. If he had been incarnate in a man of immense natural courage, that would have been for many of us almost the same as his not being incarnate at all.
Lewis contrasts two options for the kind of man Jesus could have chosen to become—an invincible man of iron nerves, or a vulnerable man of delicate sensibilities. Had Jesus chosen to be the invincible man, how do you imagine it might have undermined the miracle of the incarnation or diminished its power?
Watch session one from Because of Bethlehem below.