“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The Beta Sig in our family is coming home for Christmas! Our son, Daniel (Omega Chapter, IU ’13), is serving a three-year Globally Engaged Outreach mission in the Dominican Republic for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, but he’ll be with us for the holidays.
It’s the thing to do, isn’t it—come home for Christmas. One of the best things about college, at least as far as parents of college students are concerned. We love having the kids home, the family together!
Coming home for Christmas is a wonderful tradition. Home for Christmas is as old as . . . Christmas. Ever since Mary hurried out to the hill country of Judea to be with family—her cousin Elizabeth—and share the news that the first Christmas was coming in nine months. Ever since Mary and Joseph made the trek to the old hometown of Bethlehem. People have been coming home for Christmas ever since.
We actually think of Christmas, of course, as the time when the Son of God left home. God’s eternal Son left the glory of His heavenly home to live among us on earth—to become one of us, to take up temporary-at-best residence among the animals and straw, among sinful parents and people, among wicked men who would eventually kill Him. To live through what we call His state of humiliation until this whole Christmas thing was through and he could blow this joint, when he flew this coop, back to His real home with His Father in heaven.
Except it wasn’t quite like that. I remember how a professor of mine at the seminary stressed that for God to be born of the virgin Mary, to become incarnate, God in the flesh, wasn’t alien or foreign to Him. What the Nicene Creed describes this way, “who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary,” wasn’t the most truly amazing miracle. It wasn’t really leaving behind what God was and venturing into a strange new abode.
See, when God made human beings in the first place, He created us in His image. That is to say, human beings are familiar territory to God. He made us to be like He always has been from eternity. So when the time came for the Son to take on human flesh, it was at least like a second home. One translation of John 1:14 says he “made his home among us.” God coming home for Christmas.
What was radical and totally alien—the most incredible miracle—is what we express in the next phrase of the Nicene Creed: “and was made man.” Here we’re not simply saying he became a human being. Here we’re saying he became sinful man (the Greek anthropos), took on the sin of man. That was foreign to Him. It wasn’t the way He made us; it’s what we made ourselves. But he took it upon Himself so that He could take it away from us.
So we could be home again with Him.
After being with us for Christmas and then returning to the Dominican Republic for a few more months, our son Daniel is going to come back to the States and begin studying for the ministry. That’ll be right here at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. From what I understand, he plans to live in his old bedroom, in his old house, here on campus. We’ll be thrilled to have him home!
God made His home with us. Left for three days in death. Then came back. In order that we might be home again forever.