If there’s one thing we understand in the valley of chronic illness, it’s limitations. To be human is to be limited, of course, but to have a chronic illness is to recognize those limitations a little more keenly: all the things we can’t do, all the ways our bodies break down on us, all the answers and solutions we don’t have.
It’s frustrating. It’s humiliating. It’s exhausting.
Enter Jesus. Literally.
God, the Unlimited One, loved us so much that He gave His own Son, Himself, not just to live within these limitations in our fallen world but to take these limitations on Himself in a human body.
Imagine. Jesus/God who could do anything, knew everything, had NO boundaries as He named the stars and played with Leviathan and measured out the oceans bound Himself in the frail, tiny, dust-to-dust body of His created humans, in the broken, sin-stained, glory-lost sphere of His created earth.
God who sustains all life (Ps 36:6) and never sleeps (Ps 121:3) and is the epitome of Good (Ps 105:5) knew what it was like to be hungry (Matt 4:2), tired (Jn 4:6), and in pain (Luke 22:44).
That’s the essence of the incarnation. God in flesh. Spirit become human. Unlimited limited.
That’s the meaning of Emmanuel. God with us. Not just with us in spirit but with us in person, walking beside us, touching us, being touched, breathing our air and eating our food and carrying the same physical limitations and frustrations as every one of us, including those of us with chronic illness.
He did that for you, for me, for every single one of us. He temporarily resigned His glory in Heaven to fit Himself in the limits of the human body, a body that bled and felt pain and failed, so that He could die on the cross to give us life.
This Christmas season we recognize the miracle of Jesus’ birth, perhaps the humblest and rawest reality of God becoming human. As we celebrate within our limitations, let’s thank God for taking on those same limitations–so that someday we might have none.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.John 1:14
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.Galatians 4:4-5
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.Hebrews 4:15
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.II Corinthians 8:9
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.Philippians 2:6-8
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.Luke 2:7
The Son of God became the Son of Man,
The Unlimited took on Limits,
The Exalted knew Lowliness,
And the Glorious experienced Infamy
When Spirit knew Flesh
And God became Man.