The Second Day of Christmas: The Offense of Particularity

The ancient Jews were preoccupied with social station and purity before God, the Greeks with finding unchanging certainty beyond the messy and decaying physical realm. God offended both groups in the incarnation, the Jews by becoming this particular man—born out of wedlock to a nobody—and the Greeks by incarnating at all. In different ways, the incarnation was blasphemy to both groups.

The incarnation is just as blasphemous today. We vaunt our identity categories above everything—male, female, gay, straight, black, white, asian, 1%ers or 1%, you name it. We don’t believe anyone can represent us or grasp our lived experience unless they tick all the same boxes. We flatter ourselves that we can claim, create, or discover for ourselves an identity that is more important that the human identity we were given as a gift from our loving Creator.

But God became a particular human, born in a specific place and time, having a particular ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic station. In that one particular person, Jesus shared in all that is essentially human, in order that all humans might be able to share in the divine nature. That which we already have in common with Jesus—our essential humanity—we also have in common with each other. The more we come to share in the divine nature, the closer we will draw to one another.

Let us be grateful that this is the case; the alternatives are not attractive.

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