Advent 2018 #14: Flesh it out

It’s started storming again this afternoon but at least it’s not quite as bad as last night. I thought I’d reflect a little more on just one part of yesterday’s prayer in this post:

 God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome.

Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy

It’s all very well and good to be open to knowing Christ, but you really need to put some flesh on the bones, quite literally, to be able to go any further.

Mary, the mother of Jesus knew her son was special. She had an angel visit her and give her some insight. Yet Mary still needed to think it through after the birth.

She did so, after one group with open minds and hearts – the shepherds –  followed the lead given to them by another group of angels. And it appears that when they found the baby in the manger they were totally stoked and wanted to tell a bunch of others.

All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

My point is this, if you are open to Jesus it’s not just about some emotion you might feel. In fact, you might not feel any emotions at all. Emotions are no indicator of openness, necessarily. Mary did a lot of thinking.

Not that I want to set up some mutually exclusive binary between thought and emotion, but you get my drift.

Thinking from the Bible’s perspective isn’t particularly about emptying your mind or mindfulness. Thinking from the Bible’s perspective requires information. Ignorance will hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.

Learning people’s nicknames can give you information about them.

As a child I was often called things like shorty, short-stop and shrimp. That tells you a lot about one of my physical attributes.

One of Jesus’ nicknames is ‘The Word’.

It seems like a weird nickname to me, but people commonly refer to a certain person as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, so perhaps it’s not that odd. The Bible says this about ‘The Word’:

The Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

That’s why Christians get excited about Christmas. The Word – Jesus – is God; with flesh on.

Now I’ll be the first to say that this is an insane thought. And I’m OK if you think I’m crazy. Ask people who know me, I talk to myself all the time: the first sign of madness.

But sometimes things are so crazy that they just might be right.

The Word became human and made his home among us. He can do that for you also, if you have an open mind and open heart enough to open the door when he knocks.

Let every heart prepare him room.

Yours in insanity,


Photo by Madison Inouye on

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