Today, we are featuring a blog post written by UniteBoston’s Team Leader Rev. Kelly Fassett. Recently having birthed her second daughter, Kelly shares a moving reflection on the season of Advent and the meaning of the incarnation.
‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’From the Agathistos Hymn,
Many of you know that my family welcomed a beautiful little girl into our family and into the world on November 14. Today I wanted to share how raising a baby during Advent season has inspired new wonder and new questions.
I now wonder:
– How long was Mary’s labor? How painful were her contractions?
– Who was there to catch baby Jesus, as he entered the world?
– When leaving the stable, did she ride away on a donkey? (I know how tender your lower region is after delivering a baby!)
When I set baby Elyse on my chest, and consider the notion of God enfleshed… all that God is – all the love, mercy, power, and compassion… wrapped up into a tiny little human that is no bigger than two of your hands… What was it like to be Mary, to hold this Jesus in her arms and consider everything that the angel had said to her – that this little baby will be called the Son of the Most High; that He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; that His kingdom will never end (Lk 1:32)…
As I consider all of this, the wonder of the incarnation comes alive for me. Fully divine AND fully human. All-powerful and all-knowing in divinity… and yet so tiny, seemingly vulnerable, and defenseless.
God in human flesh. God with us.
Those five little fingers wrapping around mine… those deep blue eyes staring into mine… infinity and eternity within skin. The ineffable reality of God enfleshed.
In some ways it seems impossible… yet this is the stuff of the kingdom.
I look at my two-year-old Abigail, and wonder – What was Jesus like as a toddler? I know that Jesus was sinless.. A toddler who really did listen to his mother and father every time, obeying and never talking back? The wonder of that!
And when I hold my two little ones, the two girls that I carried for nine months in my womb and then birthed, I am filled with such love… coupled with the fierce desire to protect these little ones from all pain and difficulty that life would bring their way. Mary must have had similar feelings as she watched Jesus grow up… Yet how could she bear to watch those final hours, where her beloved son was brutally beaten, then painfully walked up the steep hill at Golgotha with the cross on his back, then the agony as nails pierced his bloody hands and He breathed his final breath.
Was this the end? No… Jesus took the weight of sin on his shoulders, imputing it on our behalf for the sake of redeeming the world. The veil between God and humanity was forever torn. Glory.
And through these acts of incarnation and redemption, God displayed that He chooses to not exist aloof in the clouds but to come near to us, walking with us, and working through the limitations of our humanity, of our humble bodily vessels. God with us.
Mary questioned, ‘How can this be?’… yet obeyed. And in that moment she must have realized it all was true. May I be filled with such courage to believe the things of the kingdom.
Emmanuel. God with us. Hallelujah!
May we never forget the mystery, and the wonder, of the Incarnation.
(I had to include this graphic from a Christmas card that I received!)