Tangible: The Meaning and Challenge of Christmas

At Christmas, we remember again for the first time that God became a human being. God became a someone who could be touched and smelled, heard and seen. God became tangible.

Tangible. What could be more tangible than needing to be burped and have your diaper changed? Almighty Creator is nursed in the arms of a teenage girl. Her betrothed was nearby and perhaps a cow and a goat, too. Divinity—the One who set the stars in place—is suddenly humanity (although probably not so suddenly from Mary’s perspective). God becomes flesh and blood.

One of “Us”

Tangibility means God became “one of us.” Which begs the question: Is the Church “one of us?”

Sometimes “us” might mean “neighbors.” Sometimes “us” might mean one of “the minority,” the “we” who are needy, vulnerable, and come from the wrong side of the tracks.

God became tangible, one of us, at Christmas. How can the church become flesh and blood, one of “us?”

God Moves In

The Word dwells among us.

Being tangible means God sticks around. God stays with us. Jesus doesn’t come for a “one night only” appearance, a “now you see me, now you don’t” magic show. God comes not just to do a project, put on a program or make his point. God moves in.

God moves “into the neighborhood,” as Eugene Peterson puts it. God moves into our neighborhoods.

In other words, God comes to hang out with us—every day, everywhere.

God’s presence is no longer simply limited to the Temple or the Ark of the Covenant or the acts of the prophets. God is settling in permanently, purposely to be in our midst, as a friend, a neighbor, a companion, a confidante, a savior, a servant king.

Christmas reminds us where God is—tangible, vulnerable, settled, local and available.

Where are you?

Where is your church?

“Let’s Plant a V3 Church in my Neighborhood”

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Dr. Karen Wilk
Dr. Karen Wilk is a National Team Member of Forge Canada’s Missional Training Network, and a Missional Leader Developer for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Karen is the Lead Catalyser of Neighbourhood Life/NEW (Neighbourhood Engagement Workers) Community in Alberta, where she actively engages church leadership in moving their congregations out into neighborhoods. She has been a pastor in Edmonton for almost 28 years and completed a Doctorate in Missional Leadership at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Karen is the author of Don’t Invite Them To Church: Moving From a Come and See to a Go and Be Church. She is also a neighbor, wife, mom, and minister who is leading her own neighborhood community.
Dr. Karen Wilk

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