By Elaine Knudtson
“How Can I Keep From Singing” sung by Audrey Assad
Jesus Our Brother
Advent reminds us that God took on flesh and blood and became our brother, the first fruits of the life to come. We do not have a God who stands apart in judgement from us, but rather we have God who enters into our humanity, experiencing the joy of being human along with the pain.
Dear Lord, it is inconceivable that God would choose to become a man, experiencing birth, life and death just like us. Fill us with gratitude and awe as we consider the magnificence of that gesture of love.
“Prepare the way, make straight in the desert a highway for our Lord.” Isa. 40:3
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace” Luke 1:76-79.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy 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 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. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Heb. 8:14-18
What responsibility does the creator have to his creatures? Having made us in his image, with consciousness and free will, we are aware of our mortality. We experience transcendence through our minds and emotions, even when we can’t articulate what we are feeling. At times we’re delighted, childlike and playful, especially in our youth when we believe that somehow we will change our world. We look forward to endless possibilities. But life happens, and our choices take us down paths that begin to limit our options. We may even take a wrong turn that pulls us away from our dreams and sets us apart from a right relationship with God and our family.
Sooner or later the freshness of life fades and it becomes harder to return to the innocence and optimism of youth. Our bodies begin to tell us that far from being immortal, they can let us down. We begin to see our friends and loved ones become old and frail and die, and we hear the sound of our own death. It is like hearing an organ concert where one of the keys is stuck. At first it blends in with the other notes, but eventually it becomes the only sound we hear, as it overtakes the volume of everything around it.
Into this story, God enters alongside of us. In experiencing life, he identifies with the creature. His sacrifice and death made it possible to witness resurrection. It was no longer theoretical—there is life after death—Jesus proved it. And furthermore, his sacrifice is the guarantee that we too shall be resurrected if we trust in him. The tragedy becomes a promise. Our brother has made the way straight in the desert.
Points to Ponder
- If you could return to the innocence of youth, what would you tell yourself?
- What does the resurrection mean to you? How does it change your story?
Dear Lord, you sent Jesus to be our brother. We are amazed at the incarnation and overcome by the love you showed your creatures. Give us hearts that grasp the meaning of the resurrection and return us to the joy and innocence of our youth as we look forward to eternal life, beginning now.