The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
If you spend any amount of time on social media or television these days, it might soon strike you that we seem to have lost our sense of humanity. As a human race, we no longer seem capable of treating each other humanely—with patience, kindness, and respect. We show contempt to all who disagree with us. There appears to be no room in this cultural climate for polite discussion, let alone considerate and thoughtful debate. We have lost sight of what it means to be human.
The account of the Garden of Eden has much to teach us about ourselves. The first lesson is that we humans are creatures, responsible to our Creator. As one pastor said: “To be human means to be in this world, to live in dependence upon God, to be humane to each other—in other words, to be servants rather than lords.” But we could define Adam and Eve’s first sin as refusing to be merely human and wanting to be like God. To this day their descendants still struggle to appreciate what it truly means to be human. It is a gift of God that we have too often despised.
But the holy Child born in Bethlehem calls us to contemplate our humanity. The eternal Son of God took on our human nature. And he exemplified, in every way, what humans were created to be in the first place. Jesus walked among us in this world as a brother, understanding our human weaknesses and needs, and making them his own. He displayed genuine love for all people and humble obedience to his heavenly Father. And when the time came for him to lay down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the rest of humanity, Jesus went willingly to his death on the cross.
Our human race would have no hope of surviving the final judgment if God had not come to live among us. But Jesus Christ has redeemed us by acting as our substitute. Now the truth of his incarnation and resurrection forces us to reconsider the way we look at our fellow human beings. In his love, God has not only created them but sent his Son to redeem them, along with us.
Lord Jesus, let me learn from you to love all people. Amen.