When Jesus became Incarnate, He truly did become human.
Incarnation is usually translated “when God pitched His tent among us.” It is the moment in history when God became one of us. Jesus, the Son of God, miraculously became the sacred and the profane, the holy and the mundane, the human and the Divine.
All these opposite forces became one. The incarnation unites all that is human with Jesus. Vatican II says it this way: “He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will and with a human heart He loved.” (Gaudium Spes # 22). But it was through His divinity, that He showed us how to forgive.
It’s wonderful to see Jesus as Divine, but easier to live Jesus if we see and imitate His human side. For instance, Jesus loved to sit with His friends and enjoy their company. He especially loved sharing a good meal with them.
Jesus used meals as a time to cement relationships. He loved engaging in others’ stories. Just look at the near catastrophe at the wedding feast at Cana – Jesus turned a sad situation into an extended party time. Jesus simply allowed the good cheer that wine and good food lend to a celebration to work its joy. Doesn't it make you wonder if this is why Jesus likes to refer to heaven as a heavenly banquet?
It's healthy to remember God’s human side together with the divine side. It stops us from making God boring and rigid. Most of all, it helps us see God as ready to caress instead of correcting us. Remember God is the Trinity – three persons in one. As one author suggests: “This is why God is comfortable in crowds, especially if it's a diverse one.” God is used to diversity as one God equals three.
As we have known since childhood, Christmas brings family and friends together. It is usually around a table with a traditionally delicious meal, with long-time favorite dishes, relating well-known family stories, and eating family favorite desserts.
Perhaps then, a lesson learned from our Christmas dinners might be to make all meals more festive simply by turning off the radio, the TV, and the iPhone and just be. In such a setting without outside noises, we can feast on those around us and even more invite someone to be a guest, like a old friend or a stranger. It can help us to realize what the heavenly banquet table will be like.
Enjoy and a Blessed Christmas season to all!
(Image: Ethiopian Icon of the Nativity)