Anyway. Today is April 17, 2013. It's supposedly been spring for almost one month now, yet this morning I packed my son's snow pants in his backpack to take to school with him, because it is snowing. I've heard we could get an accumulation of 5-8 inches. And last week, we had an ice storm one day and snow the next, which caused all kinds of destruction around town--driving around and seeing all of the downed branches made it almost seem as if a tornado had come through.
I've seen comments about it being "always winter and never Christmas" and people looking for something positive about this strange cold weather in spring.
Even though I dislike being cold, and I dislike winter the most of all the seasons, I have found myself not minding it. It is peaceful and pretty. It makes me feel as if time is standing still or slowing down, even as we have our regular daily activities. It is, perhaps, a little bit of food for this introvert's soul.
And, if the snow makes us even mention Christmas, maybe that is good. While we take a little time to think about the incarnation at the official time of Christmas, most often it is overshadowed by cookies, presents, parties, and Santa Claus. Maybe, without all of those distractions, this unseasonable snow gives us a good reason to think about the incarnation now.
"Why the Incarnation" was a blog challenge Tony Jones issued last year during Advent. I never managed to get my post done for it, unfortunately (it was turning out to be way too long, and I didn't know how and what to edit). But now, with the snow and the thoughts of Christmas, perhaps I'll think some more on it, because if the incarnation matters, then it doesn't matter just at Christmas, but all year long.
What does it mean to us in April, just weeks after we have celebrated the resurrection, that God became incarnate? What does it mean to us on the days we aren't forced to think about it, those ordinary, non-celebratory days of life, that God chose to dwell among us in the person of Jesus? Maybe, it is on these ordinary days that the incarnation should matter the most, because we can celebrate that with which we most relate: the humanity of God.
We can read the words from Paul's letter to the Philippians in which he explains how we too can experience the incarnation:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross. --Philippians 2:3-8We can experience it by having the same mind as Jesus. The mind that puts our power and privilege aside in order to help others. The kind that first looks to the interests of others. The kind that helps us to kill our selfishness and love others.
And, maybe, that is an answer to "Why the Incarnation?" Without it, would we really and truly understand humility and selflessness? Would we know how to serve others?
So today, as I look at the unexpected, unanticipated, and unseasonable snow, I will think of Jesus, who came unexpectedly and in an unanticipated way to show us what love really is.
Maybe, today, we should think of it not as "always winter and never Christmas", but simply "always Christmas".