14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Teenagers are prone to hyperbole. I hear it every day as a teacher. It seems like every emotion that springs up is happening for the very first or the very last time. Every feeling is so raw. Teenagers lash out, making claims grounded in fleeting emotions, not in reality: “I’ll never be good at math…”, “…this is the worst day ever…”, “…no one will ever understand me like he/she does.”
Even though many of us have grown up in body, we still live these same hyperbolic teenage lives in our minds. We are flung about by sensations of frustration, loneliness, meaninglessness, and doubt. Each new emotion gnaws at our stability. So, we try to cling to things and people, who we hope will make sense of things. The truth is, though, we are royally messed up. No one person or thing will provide the stability we need to anchor us in the midst of a stormy world. No person, no matter how much we love them, cling to them, or crave them will bring rest to our restless souls. They are all fundamentally ‘other’.
Christ steps into our alienation from others; not simply to be human, but to be made like his brother in every way. Christ relinquishes His right to be completely other, joining us in every pain. Christ does not simply become a God in the flesh; rather, He becomes us. He takes our instability, our doubt, our raw emotions and makes them His own. On the cross, Jesus bore not only the physical pain of crucifixion but the emotional pain of fallen humanity. He bore it so that we might experience a new kind of life, one not grounded in emotional hyperbole , but in a radical new reality. We are invited into a new creation where Christ is not ashamed to call us brothers, God is not ashamed to call us sons, and we are not alienated from ourselves and others. This advent season, do not seek peace in the typical places.
Look in the manger and embrace a new reality: Immanuel, God with us.