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Center for Action and Contemplation

Incarnation: Weekly Summary and Listening on Christmas Eve Practice

Saturday, December 24, 2022

I want to suggest that the first Incarnation was the moment described in Genesis 1, when God joined in unity with the physical universe and became the light inside of everything.
—Richard Rohr

Instead of saying that God came into the world through Jesus, maybe it would be better to say that Jesus came out of an already Christ-soaked world. The second Incarnation flowed out of the first, out of God’s loving union with physical creation.
—Richard Rohr

Don’t try to explain the Incarnation to me! It is further from being explainable than the furthest star in the furthest galaxy. It is love, God’s limitless love enfleshing that love into the form of a human being, Jesus, the Christ, fully human and fully divine.
—Madeleine L’Engle

Where is this God being revealed? Not in the safe world, but at the edge, at the bottom, among those where we don’t want to find God, where we don’t look for God, where we don’t expect God.
—Richard Rohr

We are sacramental to our core when we think that everything is holy. The holy not just found in the supernatural but in the Incarnational here and now.
—Gregory Boyle

God needed women for survival. Before Jesus fed us with the bread and the wine, the body and the blood, Jesus himself needed to be fed, by a woman. He needed a woman to say: “This is my body, given for you.”
—Rachel Held Evans

Listening on Christmas Eve

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. . . . He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.” —Luke 1:46–47, 52, Common English Bible

The child growing inside of her [Mary] is an act of resistance, and there is nothing meek or mild in her declaration of soul force. . . . Like Mary, we feel the oppression of her people and the hope of the world in her body. But often we silence our body’s lament or expectation. —Jeannie Alexander, Keep Watch with Me

Episcopal priest Claire Brown provides this mindful body practice inspired by Mary:

Today we practice listening to that body wisdom and prophecy. Find a quiet, comfortable position. Close your eyes, and bring your attention to your breath. Notice the places where your body rests: on your chair, feet on the floor, hands in your lap. Let the rhythm of your breath lead your attention across your body, starting from your toes and feet to your legs and knees; your seat, belly, and back; your arms, hands, and fingers; your chest, shoulders, and neck; your face and head. Spend time noticing where pressure, tension, or relaxation are in your body without rushing past, judging, disciplining, and fixing. Let your body speak its Advent prayer. [2]

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.


[1] Claire Brown and Michael T. McRay, Keep Watch with Me: An Advent Reader for Peacemakers (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2019), 150.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Zoe Schaffer, Seedling (detail), 2022, Pennsylvania, photograph, Unsplash. Markus Ilg, Austria (detail), 2020, Austria, photograph, Unsplash. Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 11 (detail), 2022, New Mexico, photograph, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

Image inspiration: The Christ in everything: nature, Advent candles and Scriptures, God in the cells of our hands.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.


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