Friday, December 12, 2008

"veiled in flesh"

"since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. for surely it is not angels he helps, but abraham's descendants. for this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." (hebrews 2.14-16 tniv)

one of my favorite stories came from a friend of mine at the camp where i spent four summers. this friend volunteered to lead the children's message at our church and shared this story that has stuck with me for all these years.

she talked about discovering a colony of ants that were doomed to destruction due to our work on a waterslide for the camp. "ants! you'd better move out of the way!" she claims to have said to them. "a lot of water is coming and you need to move your home to a new location!" she warned, but they just kept going on about their every day business. maybe they couldn't hear her; she would try to speak louder. "hey, you ants down there. you are in grave danger. please consider moving to a different place so you can survive the coming destruction!" yet they still did nothing.

finally, my friend concluded that the only thing to do would be to become an ant herself. she turned herself into an ant and explained to them that they their home was in danger and the safest option would be to relocate (at the time she made this sound like all this actually happened. i still feel a little disrespectful entertaining any doubt that this could actually happen). as a result of her "sacrifice" the ants decided to find a new place for their colony.

becoming an ant was the best way for my friend to communicate her message to the ants. in the case of humanity, God had communicated his message many times in many ways but nothing was effective for a significant amount of time. from the beginning of time, God knew that he himself would have to come to earth for us to understand the depth of his love for us and his desire for a relationship with us. hebrews tells us that it was when God became flesh in the form of Jesus that we finally had the high priest we needed: one who could teach us about God's mercy and faithfulness as well as one who could make atonement for our sins once and for all.

the infant Jesus reminds us that God did not reveal himself to us as a holy superpower. instead, from the beginning of the revelation, he wanted us to remember that God made himself flesh to live among us, in every sense of the word.

"the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (john 1.14)

for the kids: ask them if they have ever seen God. what do they think he would look like if they did see God? talk about how Jesus is the way that we can see God while we are here on earth. what are some of the things that they know about Jesus that must be true about God? for a project, use popsicle sticks to make two figures (use craft foam for faces). try to glue them to be hand in hand. use fabric scraps for clothes. try using yarn for hair. one of the figures should be you or your child and the other one is Jesus. he became one of us when he came to earth.

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