Embodied-a prayer for Christmas.

This is the time of year when we celebrate the mystery of God embodied, of the word made flesh.  The scandal of incarnation is still the defining feature of the Christian gospel.  In that spirit, while it was not written for Christmas per se, I have loved this little prayer from Stanley Hauerwas’ Discerning Time. He actually wrote it for a wedding between two graduate students.  But as it so well captures the mystery of our embodied God, it has become a sort of Christmas meditation for me.  After all, the fact that God took on flesh means so much for how we love “our bodily friends across generations.” In Hauerwas’ words, the incarnation of Jesus helps deliver us from our tendencies to “body denying silliness.”  I hope you like it:

Lustily you love us, Mary-born Lord.  Embodied, you would not

Have us be etherealized spirits.  Rather, we find that we are bodies

All the way down.  But, are our bodies the picture of the soul?  That

You have taken on our flesh surely entails that whatever more we

May be, the “more” is not more than our bodies.  But, our bodies

Beacon death…and love.  Without bodies, we could not desire

One another or you, but those same bodies become pain-filled

And wrinkled.  How extraordinary!  I am growing old.  In fact, I

May already be old.  I somehow had not noticed.  Save me from

The silliness, the body-denying silliness, to which the old are

Tempted.  Help me, help us, behold bodily friends across

Generations, so that we might be for the world confident lovers

Who can say, “Until death do us part.” 

Amen.

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