This is the fifth article in our On the Incarnation series for the Nativity Fast.
Time flows differently during the Nativity Fast. The time until Christmas seems at once impossibly long and impossibly short. There is so much to do. And yet there is only one thing that we must do. We must wait.
We wait, while time, space, all that is and was and will be is turned inside out, because the uncontainable God is contained in a Virgin’s womb.
It was His choice, of course, to enter into space and time, to take on flesh, to become part of His own Creation. But not His choice alone. Because what He chose to do would alter all of humanity forever. So he asked permission. God asked, and waited.
And nothing happened until the young woman said yes.
She said it, not just for herself, but for all of us. Because she said yes, God took human flesh from her, as He’d taken human flesh from Adam. And just as Eve was bone of Adam’s bone, and flesh of his flesh, so the One conceived in Mary’s womb was bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh.
All that it means to be human, God granted to Eve with Adam’s flesh. And all that it means to be human, He took on Himself with Mary’s flesh.
And just as He shares the divine nature with the Father and the Spirit, in that moment, in the instant of the Incarnation, Mary shared her human nature, our human nature, with Him.
We don’t think about that very often. At least, I don’t. I know it’s true. But the implications are terrifying.
Jesus told us that, if we’ve seen Him, we’ve seen the Father.
And Jesus told us that, when we have done something to another human being, for good or for ill, we have done it to Him.
It’s no use saying that He meant the first one, but not the second. They are both true, in the same way, for the same reason. Because the Persons of the Godhead share the same nature, what touches one of them touches all of them.
And because one of the Persons of the Godhead shares our human nature, what touches one of us touches all of us. Touches Him. Because He, the only-begotten Son and immortal Word of God, is Emmanuel. God with us. One of us.
A slightly different version of this reflection appeared in March 2017 on the author’s personal blog.
See our call for articles if you would like to write for our On the Incarnation series. See the On the Incarnation section in our Archives by Author for the other reflections in this series.
Charlotte Riggle is an Orthodox Christian and the author of two picture books, Catherine’s Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow [which Orthodoxy in Dialogue reviewed here]. She writes about the Orthodox faith, disability, and picture books at Charlotte’s Blog.