The word is Incarnational. I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s actually not even really a word. We Christians have a way of making words up. But, I keep having this word come up in my mind because it sums up what Jesus did. He came, God in flesh, to live among us. That just blows my mind when I stop and think about it.
He was the perfect example of how to do ministry in the sense that he lived among the people, he ate with them, he walked with them. He was with them. God with them. I think back to all my Intercultural Studies classes, learning about missions and how best to “do” missions and ministry. Although there may not be the perfect strategy for every place on earth, there is one thing that is ultimately important to reaching the lost no matter where we live. That is: incarnational minstry. This is when you place your family, your life, your activities all among the people you are trying to reach. You shop where they shop. You eat where they eat. You live where they live. This can and should be done by all Christians to some extent whether you live in Boston, MA or New Delhi, India. Jesus did this. He did this so people could see that He was fully human yet He proved He was fully God. Emmanuel. The most incredible concept of Christmas.
Incarnational living is purposefully living out the gospel of Jesus where we live and to those around us.
Here is my favorite Christmas song of the season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.