The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
It was one of those mornings. My twin sons, Luke and Sam, were about five or six years old. And they once again transformed the drive to school into an open forum question-and-answer session where no theological curiosity was off-limits. I did my best to answer in a way they could grasp. It went something like this:
Luke: Dad, if Jesus is in my heart, how can he be in heaven at the same time?
Me: Great question, buddy. Because Jesus is God and he can be everywhere at once.
Luke: But, Dad, I thought there was only one Jesus. How can one person be everywhere?
Me: Another great question. He is so big that he fills up everything, everywhere so he can be everywhere and right there with you at the same time.
Sam: But, Dad, if Jesus is so big, then why can’t we see him?
These kindergarten/kingdom-sized curiosities are answered in Advent. This season of mystery invites and awakens childlike faith. Not just to grasp the right answers. But to keep asking the right questions.
Author Madeleine L’Engle employed the phrase “the irrational season” to describe this journey we’re on. This moment that asks us to believe the impossible and stake everything on it. That the massive God who fills all things makes himself small enough to see. For all the times he reveals himself through fire and flood and plague and blinding glory, in this moment we see him most clearly. As the Transcendent descends, the Universal localized’the image of the invisible God.
In addition to my role as theology student under Luke and Sam, I’m also one of the pastors at a quirky little church called Love Chapel Hill in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Our name is our mission: love Chapel Hill with the heart of Jesus. In the early days of planting this church, we often heard hyped-up strategists and leadership experts repeat the rallying cry, “go big or go home.” Instead, we took on the counter approach of “go small and go home.” In other words, start small, right where we are. Love local, we like to say, as a reminder that the next opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus is not waiting in the spotlight on the biggest stage, but right in front of us as we walk down the street, hiding in the form of outcast or neighbor or stranger. Every moment is an opportunity to make the highest truth and deepest theology and largest love small enough to see.
Of course, this is no innovation. It is simply an imitation of the image of the invisible God. The one in whom all the fullness of God dwells, and yet he comes and dwells with us. The massive God who fills all things and makes himself small enough to see.
God of fullness who fills all things, make yourself small enough to see through me. And give me eyes to see you made small through others.
AND THE WORD BECAME FLESH, AND MADE HIS DWELLING AMONG US.
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