Love is nothing if it is not incarnated.
I suppose my liturgical seasons are all turned around. This past Holy Week—the three days in which we celebrate the apex, the glorious climax, of salvation history—filled all of my thoughts with the incarnation.
Perhaps it is because I am living in this miracle of life enfleshed; of love given hands and feet and skin and lungs and movement. Our love, made flesh.
Yet without the incarnation, we would not have Easter.
As I considered the agony of Christ, I couldn’t shake the humanity and the physicality of such holy days. Jesus wept in the garden and stumbled under the weight of the cross and felt every millimeter of those nails pounding into His flesh. How earthly and human.
Sometimes I worry that the love of God seems like an abstraction: something that I must hold onto and believe in, but something that I can’t truly understand or have experience with. But Maundy Thursday brings Christ who washes feet and loves His disciples with His hands and leaves Himself for us in the Eucharist. And Good Friday comes and reminds us that Love is more than an abstraction or a pretty idea; it is the Man hanging on a cross, his body broken and scourged, His arms open as He welcomes the thief beside Him into eternity. After Good Friday comes Holy Saturday, the quiet and sober day when we realize what the world would be like without this Savior. Dark, still, empty.
Then the darkness gives way to Easter, that day that the risen Lord gives us hope not simply of an eternal soul, but an eternal body: a new, risen, perfected, glorified body. There is flesh to the resurrection; it will be a physical reality, however mysterious and unknown that existence is to our mortal minds.
Love has bones and skin and hair and veins. Love came to redeem and renew our bones and skin. Love gives us hope of perfected bones and skin, perfected existence.
And in just a few weeks, we will welcome a new miracle of love enfleshed. Our love given physical reality, just as the love of the Father gave the physical reality of His Son to the world. We will seek to give love hands and feet and concrete existence as we learn to love this child and this Lord in new ways as we enter into the beauty of new life.
And we will welcome hope—because this is not the ultimate reality. It is only a beautiful taste of the magnificent, glorified, physical reality that we will one day know. This baby, and this baby’s mother and father, were made for glory—real, physical glory.