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An Embodied Advent

“And the Word became flesh.” Let’s discuss An Embodied Advent!

As the holiday hustle and bustle begins, let’s consider how the season of Advent highlights the relationship between God and your body.

Your flesh is so important to God that He became flesh. Your body is central to who you are and God cares deeply about it.

So, this season allow the Light of the world to reveal something new to you about your addiction to pornography, your struggle with infidelity, your flesh.

The Hope of Advent begs to help you in your walk towards sexual wholeness. Let’s unwrap this gift together.

Highlights:

Our bodies are not an accessory that we wear. We are our bodies. We are embodied creatures. You take away the body and you lose who you are.

Advent is the declaration that God cares for your body.  Advent is the declaration that your body matters deeply to God.

If there’s ever any question about the dignity, the importance of the human body; that question is answered completely, fully, forever in the Incarnation.

Seek to treat other people’s bodies with dignity this Advent.

Homework:

Meditate on the reality that God became embodied- Use that truth to guide you while you practice honoring your body. This Advent, try treating your body with dignity as God would. 

The holidays can bring an increase in anxiety & anticipation; recognize it and treat your body with dignity. If you cross a line, honor your body and reflect on your choice.

Try to treat the embodied people around you as worthy. Let their presence be a form of meditation not irritation.

Extras:

John 9:1-12 Jesus Heals the Man born Blind

“You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be. For the human race would have perished utterly had not the Lord and Savior of all the Son of God, come among us to put an end to death.”Athanasius of Alexandria, On The Incarnation

If you want to learn more, check out Josh’s latest musing on this topic at, Look at All the Bodies

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

As we enter into this first week of Advent, I want to take you on a journey with me for a few minutes that I hope will help center you in the weeks to come as we move towards Christmas. And I want to begin with the story of the healing of the blind man in John nine. Before we do that, I want to just kind of turn this podcast and set out for a moment and let you know that I’m this has everything to do with what Regenerations ministry has been. Our mission is to help men, women and families to learn and live God’s good, holy and beautiful design for sexuality. So as we move into Advent, it might feel like a departure like what is Advent has to do with that it has everything to do with that. And that has everything to do with how we treat our bodies. So hang with me, if you are tuning in, because you’re like, Hey, I’m I’m receiving pornography. You know, I get Advent devotionals at church. Great, I’m glad you do. I’m glad you do. And I hope this will help open your eyes even more to the hope that added offers you as you are seeking to walk free from sexual sin and to walk in greater and greater sexual integrity. So let’s start with John nine. In John nine, we read of Jesus having this encounter with a man who was born blind. So his whole life, he’s been blind, he was a blind baby who the blind boy, blind teenager and now he’s in a blind he’s a blind adult man. And I won’t go through the whole passage, but his his disciples are kind of wondering what you know why he’s blind what the cause is. And in the end, Jesus walks up to the man, he spits in the ground and make some mud with his saliva. I don’t understand why he does that I got some some guesses that may kind of he may be alluding to or harkening back to Genesis two, where Adam is made of the dust of the ground, he may be declaring himself this may be John kind of highlighting the the deity of Jesus, that He also can take the dust of the ground and make life from it to move someone towards life and healing from it. So Jesus spits in the ground, he makes some mud, and he puts it on the man’s eyes. And I don’t know what the man was thinking at this point. But he, what I want to highlight is is Jesus, the Son of God, God incarnate, takes his hands, makes mud, he places his hands on this blind man’s blind eyes, and then tells him Go Go wash in the pool of Siloam, which means scent. So the man went, and he washed the mud off his eyes, and he came home, seeing he came back, seeing now people were perplexed by this. Some people were like going, Hey, look, this guy’s was he was healed. Other people are going like, no, that’s not the same guy. And I want to just pause there for a second. Why is that important? Because Because this man had been blind his whole life. People did not recognize him. What does it have to do with us? Well, it has to do with this. And we’ve talked about this on this podcast before. Our bodies are not an accessory that we where we are our bodies, we are embodied creatures. You take away the body, and you lose who you are. You take away the spirit, and you lose who you are, you are a fusion, a combination of body and spirit. You were designed that way you were always meant to be that way. And this is the hope of the resurrection. getting ahead of myself here. So this, this man was recognized as a blind man, now he’s not a blind man. And so people, his body has changed, the functionality of His body has changed and people like, Who is this the same guy that we’re not sure this is same guy. But Jesus, started by touching the man’s eyes. And I’m just I want to just pause it for a second. Is there a part of your body? In other words, a part of you, as we move into Advent, that can feel the longing for Jesus’s touch, his physical touch? Is there a part of you that feels that longing? I can feel it today, I can feel it. I feel I longed for Jesus’s touch on my shoulder on my back on my chest. I longed for his arms around me. And I’ve heard people say, you know, that stinks. Because he’s not here. You know, we get the Holy Spirit too bad. We really wish we had Christ in the flesh. Well, I’m going to come back to that too, because this is part of why we’re talking to us today. But but don’t ignore that longing, because Christ came in the flesh and he will return in the flesh. So where you find yourself longing to see him, longing to feel him longing to Hear him in other words, where your body longs for his body, let your body long that is honoring the reality that your body is longing for the one who made you. And that is a good and holy longing. Alright, so we start with this, this story and John. And I just wanted to highlight it because I, I think we can read through healings in Scripture. And maybe we, you know, talk about it as it relates to, you know, just God still healed today. Maybe we read it just, you know, as a something that we think was just historical. But I wanted to read it, I wanted to bring it here because of the reality that our bodies actually need and long for Jesus. Alright, so let me rewind, what does that have to do with Advent. Advent is the declaration, among other things, that God cares for your body. Advent is the declaration that your body matters deeply, deeply, deeply to God. It is not just an add on, it is not just an afterthought. It is central to who you are, and God cares deeply about it. Because he cares deeply about you and you are embodied the, the great Saint Athanasius, who stood against the heresy of Gnosticism in the early church and was immovable, thank God he was, he he, he writes this, he writes that, imagine a king moves into your town, into your village, immediately the value the dignity of your town goes up. Immediately the the safety of your town goes up, because the king is there with all his his guards. People look at your town differently. Because the king has moved there. To take a modern day example if you know if you if if Bano from you to move down the street from you, all of a sudden property values in your town would go up, there’d be a lot more action on your on your street, if bhana moved in. Or, you know, I don’t know pick your favorite athlete. It would just impact your your neighborhood in substantial ways. And Athanasius his point is that when God became embodied through the Incarnation, when God became who is spirit became flesh and dwelt among us. This is John one. When God became flesh and dwelt among us, he moved in to our neighborhood, and forever dignified, the human body. If there’s ever any question about is the human body really worth that much? Are these human physical creatures really valuable? Do we need to worry about them? Are they just a temporary scourge on the earth? But someday, you know, they’ll they’ll all die out? If there’s ever any question about the importance and centrality, the value, the dignity of the human person, the human body? That question was answered completely, fully forever. In the Incarnation, when God Himself took on a human body, I would encourage you to meditate on that this Advent, because it will radically change your perception of what Jesus did at Christmas. What Jesus did, when he took on a body in the womb of Mary, and grew there, and was born and lived upon the earth, it is it is radical as heretical. I mean, first century Christians would have been looked at like that two heads at this idea. Because the Hellenistic world they were they were living in, believe the body was was base body was kind of it was earthy, but the spirit that’s that’s what could be elevated, not the body. But the presence of Jesus in the early Christians like, Nah, the body matters, God himself became embodied God himself became embodied. Alright. So as we move through his advent, here’s, here’s where I want to encourage you. Because this has implications for for several things for us, the real quickly, even in this Advent season, so we want to meditate on the reality that God became embodied and as forever dignified, the human body start there. But also as you move through the busyness of the season, I know that so many of us who have wrestled with sexual sin issues, or alcohol or drugs or eating too much, I mean, you name your, where you binge on media, whatever. Whatever your binge point is, as you move through Advent and feel the increased temptation that increased scurrying in your body, the increased anxiety, the increased hunger, whatever it is. Treat your body with dignity, seek to honor your body, and if you fail, if you falter, eat too much if you act out sexually if you if you cross a line, then then come back Back in honor your body, honor your body by reflecting on what happened not beating yourself up. That’s not what this is about. But just hey, you know, I eat too much, it doesn’t feel good. I want to treat my body better than that. I use my eyes to lust you know, I don’t want to treat my body better than that my eyes are made for love not lost. Seek to practice honoring your body. dignifying treating your body with dignity as God has. And then next, seek to treat other people’s bodies with dignity through this Advent season. And here, there’s even a meditation point for you. You know, one of the things that’s difficult about Advent, in the US at least is that stores just get so over overcrowded and he’s just crazy. Go to the store even just to pick up regular groceries for the week and it’s just packed. It’s a madhouse parking lots are full there people everywhere. Well, if you’re an introvert, that may be especially difficult. But as you’re facing the crowds, seek to see the people around you see their bodies, see them they are unrepeatable, irreplaceable, and God has forever declared the worth of their bodies. Yes, the tallest among them, the shortest among them the heaviest, among them, the lightest among them, the most beautiful among them, the ugliest, among them, the richest among them, the poorest among them, wherever they are, you know, blocking your way in the store, angry and aggressive. You know, whatever, whatever their problems are, seek to see their bodies not through the grid of the lens of the world, which kind of minimizes the body but through the lens of God who has said, Look, these bodies that I’ve made, are so valuable to me, these human embodied creatures that I made are so valuable to me that I myself have become one of them, to save their bodies. And try to treat the bodies around you the embodied people around you, as, as worthy of the dignity that God gave through Christmas, through becoming flesh. And let their presence be a form of meditation for you, rather than irritation. When you find yourself getting irritated, turn that into meditation, turn your irritation into meditation, about these bodies, and the the intrinsic value that that these bodies are because of the Incarnation. Alright, let me wrap this up a couple more minutes. I find it interesting. And it’s just interesting. I’m not trying to make too much out of this. But I just find it interesting and even helpful, I think, to recognize that Halloween comes at the very end of October, followed quickly by Thanksgiving, where we count our blessings and eat too much. And then we move into Christmas into Advent and Christmas. But I find it interesting. Halloween is become increasingly one of the most popular holidays in the US. Halloween is a celebration, it is a it is not a celebration, at least is a time of year, where we put front and center in before us the division of body and spirit, the division of body and spirit that’s all around us during Halloween, a body without a spirit as a corpse, or a zombie. It’s the walking dead or it’s just a dead body. laying there a spirit without a body is a ghost to ghost and those are those these are the pictures that we see around us during Halloween skeleton body no spirit, right decayed body, no spirit. These are the pictures around us. during Halloween, you might add their you know pictures of violence and murder, where where there’s this meant to be the separation of body and spirit. And we recognize that our discomfort with it. I mean, part of the reason we get scared and they do haunted houses at Halloween is is there’s an innate fear in us of the separation of spirit and body. Why? Well, not because we’re scaredy cats. But because we were never meant to be divided. We were meant to be whole like to be a human being is to be spirit and body and something innately in us knows that. And we don’t want those two to be separated and we don’t want it separate in somebody else either. Christmas seems to me to be God’s answer to Halloween. So where the natural course of our lives is his death, we decay we die, the spirit and body are divided. God’s response is Christmas. He becomes embodied for us. We may even try to elevate and glorify death we may try to get comfortable with it. We you know, whether it’s our video games or movies, abortion, whatever, we may try to separate spirit and body in other ways. And I think that’s part of the transgender craze that’s happening, but are the natural trajectory of our lives is to divide body and spirit that’s where we are headed on our own. God’s answer is Christmas. He Himself becomes flesh he has spirit becomes flesh and dwelt among us for the rescue of our bodies. To declare over all of creation, the worth and dignity of the human creature, body and spirit and his intention that our bodies would live forever in Him, because He cherishes each one of us, body and spirit. Jesus would you open our eyes to the truth of who we are, and what Christmas is about. I pray this now in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

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