Are you longing for a rich and meaningful Christmas, something more than consumerism, busy-ness, over-indulgence, lines, traffic, perfectionism, and a blur of activity?
God, I am.
If you are, too, I want to invite you to practice something with me this Advent, something that may at first sound counter-intuitive and even unspiritual.
I want to invite you to think a lot about your body.
I mean it. I’m inviting you to think about your body, to focus on it, to meditate on it.
Because rightly viewed, your body can lead you into the essence of Christmas. It’s the key to experiencing the beauty and mystery of Christmas as God intends.
Think about it. Christmas was God’s definitive declaration of how much your body is worth to Him. Actually, declaration is nowhere near adequate. Christmas was God’s definitive action revealing to all of creation how much your body is worth to Him. It was His declaration-made-physical, His Word become flesh.
Christmas is not first an inspirational story, it’s an incarnational one.
To be human is not to be spirit or body. It’s to be at once both spirit and body. God wasn’t satisfied to see our bodies abandoned to sin, death, and decay. He didn’t just want to make a way to rescue your spirit. That would have left you broken—spirit rent from body. No, God wanted to rescue you, and you’re not you without your body.
Christmas is when God, who is Spirit, became en-fleshed to rescue humanity, to make us fully alive again, spirit and body.
God’s reason for becoming flesh, His reason for Christmas, is why your body is the key to experiencing the beauty and mystery of Christmas as He intends.
So what are some ways you and I can let our bodies “turn the key,” so to speak, and draw us more deeply into this incredible mystery?
That will be the subject of my next post. For now, begin musing on God’s great love for your body, His unwillingness to leave your body behind, unwillingness to abandon it to sin (including those sins you’re struggling with so much today), death and decay. Begin focusing on this, your body and its great worth to God as declared in the Incarnation.
These questions will help: What are some of your favorite things about having a body? What are some things that are difficult about having a body? Leave a comment here.
As a Patriots’ fan, I love to hear how great Tom Brady is. I love to hear about his successes, but even more I love hearing about his work ethic, his discipline, his commitment. But this weekend the commentators said something that hit me. They said that Tom Brady is 39 years old and he’s playing as well as, or better than, he did years ago. And this is what they attributed his success to: Tom Brady is extremely careful about everything he does with his body, including everything he eats. They said Brady has been eating healthy food for years–way earlier than most people and athletes.
So, since I am not doing well in the eat-the-right-food-category right now, God brought this to mind, “If Tom Brady treats his body as the most important tool for his success on the football field, shouldn’t you be as concerned that your body is strong and healthy enough to do what I call you to do?” Of course, God uses all kinds of people with all kinds of bodily weaknesses–Hallelujah–but what if I could do more for God’s Kingdom if I stopped worshiping at the altar of fridge and pantry. Thank you once again, Josh, for sharing the word that God gives you: God loves my body! Shouldn’t I love it too?
It is interesting to me that you should have this post on just the day that I had already determined I had to begin eating in a more healthy way. One of the things I love about having a physical body is cooking and sharing the food that I cook. I also love eating it which can be a problem. But I have been looking for the day to begin again eating in a really healthy way. And today is the day. Yes, even with a cookie exchange tomorrow night. So, thank you Josh. I am going to be healthy because I really do love my body and I am glad to be alive! God has given us so much in this lifetime. And he walks with us in such magnificentways. So today he provided this blog I think for added incentive to begin. Blessings
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I love that we have bodies…hmm…I love to give and receive hugs. I love to see how God created such beautiful and unique people…I love to watch a person’s eyes, facial expressions, and body movements as they reveal what’s happening in their mind and heart and soul. I believe that God speaks to us and through us with our bodies.
Some difficulties include pain, injuries, disease…but God reveals so much through this areas of challenge. Among other things, He points us to a time when we will have new bodies!
Such a great reminder that God wants to be with us and in relationship with Him in our bodies, minds and spirits.