Christians claim to have an “incarnational faith.” That means we believe we have seen God, and we have beheld God’s glory. We believe the Word became fleshed and walked among us. Christians claim to know hope, peace, joy and love, because Christians claim to know the God who became enfleshed in the body of Jesus of Nazareth to give us those things. This is what Christmas is all about. And this is what Church is all about.
The Church is called to be the body of Christ, the very embodiment of Jesus Christ in this world. We are called to not only share the good news of Christmas with others, but we are called to be Christmas to others. We are called to be hope, peace, joy and love to a world that desperately needs it.
We reaffirm this calling each time we share the bread and the cup of Holy Communion. In consuming the body and blood of Christ, we reaffirm that we are Christ’s body and Christ’s blood in this world. We remind ourselves that we are the manifestation of God in the world. We commit ourselves to being the enfleshed presence of God in this world. We dedicate ourselves to being Christmas.
Thus, these are the questions that I believe every church needs to continually ask: When people encounter our church, do they encounter God? Do they encounter the embodiment of Jesus Christ?
When people hear us, do they hear hope? Or do they hear despair?
When people see us, do they see peace? Or do they see conflict?
When people come near us, do they sense joy? Or do they sense fear?
When people touch us, do they feel loved? Or do they feel judged?
When people meet us, do they meet God? Do they meet the Christ? And do they want to join us in being Christ to others?
When people encounter us, do they encounter Christmas?