Incarnation.

And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… (John 1:4)

Recently, I attended a wedding in San Antonio , Texas.  The reception was at a museum 
near the University of the Incarnate Word, and a cousin asked me what my understanding 
of “incarnate word” was.  I told him that Incarnate Word referred to the religious order who 
founded the school, but that the term had a deeper meaning.  “Literally,” I told him,
 “this is the University of the Word Made Flesh; in other words, the University of Jesus.”

As humans, we have tremendous capacity for abstract thought, unlike any other beings
on the planet.  We can recall the past with detail and imagine the future with hope.  We
make sense of symbols and ideas, and use the creative gifts of art and music to express
 ourselves and inspire others.  We are unique among all living things in our ability to do so.

Yet, despite our capacity for conceptualizing that which is not concrete, we have our limits,
 and God knows it.  Sometimes, we need to experience something “real” to understand
 something mystical.  Yes, seeing is believing.

Unconditional love is one of those mystical, hard-to-understand concepts.  Bolstered by our
own experiences and egos, it is hard to even fathom the depth of love for love’s sake, no 
strings attached and impossible to stop.  Just this week, a loved one sent a text I’d been 
expecting for some time.  “Bridgette died last night,” she wrote, letting me know her beloved
dog had passed after a long illness.  Bridgette was a “Heinz 57” dog, as my Dad used to
say—a little of this and a little of that.  She was a loveable, barrel-chested companion who
had been rescued from a certain death years before as she prowled the area near our local
industrial zone.

I reminded her that Bridgette would have been long gone many years before had she not
reached out to her and taken her home.  “Yes,” she replied, “but when I think about her, I 
have to ask:  who rescued who here?”  Bridgette had been unconditional love incarnate 
to her, at a time she needed it most.  A real-world, full five-senses example of something 
we find so hard to understand.

How loving and thoughtful of God to send Jesus into the world…a fully-human, living, 
breathing example of unconditional love, so we could completely and finally understand.  
Pure and gentle as a baby, self-sacrificing and offering love and healing as a man, let us 
remember this Christmas Eve to look for the word made flesh and choose to be rescued, 
again.