When my time had fully come at 3 AM on December 24 the flu put me out for the count. 48 hours of wracking cough, aches and pains, fever, and fitful sleep. Not good timing when my plan that morning was to make omelets to order for our homeless ministry Room in the Inn guests (including a lobster option no less – thank you to the cooking crew that covered for me) and then four services that night (thank you to the pastor crew that covered for me). I foolishly thought if my fever broke I could still preach at 11 PM and even worked out a way I could use the flu to talk about the incarnation which I will do for you now so as not to let my drug induced imagination go to waste. (Take that Pastor Ethan – even on Nyquil I can rock the pulpit) When the time had fully come Jesus was born into a body like mine. No, not my size, shape or color but born into a body that could be laid low by a microscopic virus. Born into a body that was susceptible to the elements, to hunger, to thirst, to lack of sleep, to all manner of physical maladies. But more than that; born into a body wracked by grief (Jesus wept). Born into a body that ached for the lonely and the lost (he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd) Born into a body that felt the pain of a creation gone horribly wrong (he came to that which was his own but they knew him not) But unlike my time in the crucible of the flu Jesus body did not recover from what was done to him. He was sent to those who were under the law to redeem them but they treated him with cruel contempt, mocking him in his suffering and ultimately robbing him of his life by stripping him naked and nailing him to wood. Not a Merry Christmas story but then I’m jacked up on Nyquil (just kidding) and what I need is a Savior who can defeat the virus of my sin not a no crying he makes baby in a manger. The latter is our fairy tale. The former is God’s plan. When the time had fully come God put on our flesh, died our death and then kicked it in the butt so that we would never, ever be laid low by death. Merry Christmas.