Experiencing Advent

Advent is a season when Christians celebrate the incarnation. The incarnation refers to God’s taking on a human body to save our broken bodies. God became a man to rescue mankind. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). 

The incarnation is the highest compliment ever paid to the human body. No aspect of our body is exempt from God’s redeeming presence. This includes what we consider to be the embarrassing and undignified parts of our body. God did not shrink back from any of it. Instead, God embodied humanity, and lest you think of that with an air of romanticism, remember this: God had bad breath; God may have wet the bed; God certainly sweat and stank and needed to bathe. Why would God humble himself to such a lowly existence?

The answer is simple and profound: God thinks our lowly bodies are important. So much so that when Jesus redeems us, that redemption occurs in our bodies. This means our ultimate hope is not that when we die we float away to heaven and leave our bodies behind. Our ultimate hope is that one day heaven will come down to earth. One day Jesus will return to earth, and on that day, we will experience the resurrection of our bodies.

What does this mean for you and me this Advent season? The incarnation is an invitation from God to live a more embodied life.

Living an embodied life means that we embrace and bless the beauty, limits, pleasures and pains of being embodied beings. This includes being intentional about what we do with and to our bodies. To be embodied means we limit the amount of time we spend in digital spaces where much is disembodied. To be embodied means we maintain healthy rhythms of work, rest, play and sleep. To live an embodied life means living in a way that says my body and my soul are entwined — what I do with my body impacts my soul. This body I feed, these teeth I brush, these eyes I close were made by a loving Creator who did not reject the human body. Instead, he declared it to be good, and he invites me to reveal his goodness through my body — through me tangibly loving others with my body — through baking bread — through eating well — through brushing teeth — through getting sleep.

It is my prayer that this Advent is a season where you embody in tangible ways the story of a God who wrapped himself in flesh to rescue and redeem our broken bodies.

Charlie Sandberg is a Colorado transplant from Minnesota who enjoys writing, reading, running and spending time with his family. He is the teaching pastor at Faith and has been a member for 15 years. He loves helping people know and love Jesus by teaching the Bible.