A good joke always consists of a setup that takes you in one direction and concludes with a punch line that disorients you and leaves you rolling on the floor in laughter.
One of my favorite descriptions of the incarnation, (which is a fancy way of saying that God came to earth in human form), comes from Frederick Buechner, who explains that the incarnation is “a kind of vast joke whereby the creator of the ends of the earth comes among us in diapers.” Buechner is not suggesting that God becoming human didn’t happen, or that those who believe in that are ludicrous. What he is suggesting is that the setup to this story is our preconceived bias that the God of the Universe would never interact in such an intimate and vulnerable way as to become human.
The Christmas story is difficult to comprehend because if I were God and I decided to become human, I wouldn’t choose an earthly family that was poor, weak, and helpless. I would choose a family with privilege, holding court in a magnificent palace. Also, I definitely wouldn’t come in the form of a vulnerable and powerless little baby. I would ride into town as a king.
At some point, when we truly look at the incarnation, we will inevitably ask, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?!?” Frederick Buechner later goes on to say, “Until we, too, have taken the idea of the God-man seriously enough to be scandalized by it, we have not taken it as seriously as it demands to be taken.”
God’s willingness to dwell among us as John 1:14 describes should be something that brings us comfort, hope, and confidence. How does this resonate with you this morning? Does it bring you hope and comfort to know how far God was willing to go in order to be “in the world as we are in the world?”