Each Advent season, God invites us anew to reflect on the beauty of the incarnation—the mysterious act of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
Last year I featured 8 images that I found particularly powerful. I hope these additional illustrations will help you contemplate Christmas, complete a sermon, or come close to the feet of Jesus in worship again this year.
1. His Weakness as Our Virtue
He was a baby and a child, so that you may be a perfect human. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, so that you may be freed from the snares of death. He was in a manger, so that you may be in the altar. He was on earth that you may be in the stars. He had no other place in the inn, so that you may have many mansions in the heavens. ‘He, being rich, became poor for your sakes, that through his poverty you might be rich.’ Therefore his poverty is our inheritance, and the Lord’s weakness is our virtue. He chose to lack for himself, that he may abound for all. The sobs of that appalling infancy cleanse me, those tears wash away my sins. – Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 2.41-42.
2. Salvation Happens in the Body
Bodies are central to the Christian story. Creation inaugurates bodies that are good, but the consequences of the fall are written on our bodies–our bodies will sweat as we labor in the fields, our bodies will hurt as we bear children, and, most centrally, our bodies will die. If the fall is written on the body, salvation happens in the body too. The kingdom of God is transmitted through Jesus’s body and is sustained in Christ’s Body, the church. Through the bodily suffering of Christ on the cross and the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead, we are saved. Bodies are not just mirrors in which we see the consequence of the fall; they are also, in one theologian’s phrase, “where God has chosen to find us in our fallenness.” – Lauren Winner, Real Sex
3. The True Image of God
When we begin with a vague notion of what God is like we tend to project our own experiences, for better or worse, in formulating this image. … The secret to understanding who God is and consequently who we really are is to start with Jesus. The problem is that there are a lot of versions of Jesus out there. The only trustworthy way to understand Jesus is to study His Word with others in the power of the Holy Spirit. – Carolyn Moore, Encounter Jesus
You can find the rest of the illustrations in my guest post at Seedbed:
14 Christmas Sermon Illustrations