As we enter the season of Incarnation, I’ve been thinking about bodies.


A lot of Western society is going through a reckoning about bodies – about how unkind we are to them. And still we moralize about food and weight, punish ourselves in search of some bizarre perception of beauty, objectify the bodies of some and pathologize the bodies of others, especially trans people and disabled people, and police Black, brown, and Indigenous bodies through incarceration and violence, as well as smaller acts of aggression like mandating certain hairstyles and wardrobes as a condition for basic respect.


So why in the world would God choose a body?


Moreover, why would God choose a baby’s body?


If God truly is all-powerful, why would They not choose something more impressive, more robust, more...well, dignified, than a baby with a smelly diaper and spit-up on his chin?


There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that God did not come to earth with a magic wand to wave all of our problems away. They did not come to give a three-point TED Talk on How To Be Good.


The good news is that God, noticing the gap that exists between us, decided to bridge it in the most humbling and profound way They could.


God chose to enter into our experience, and not even the best of what human life brings, but some of the worst.


Poverty. Forced migration. Disrespect. Persecution. Betrayal. False accusation. Abuse. Imprisonment. Lynching.


But also? Love, protection, nurturing, friendship, community, food, wine, solidarity.


God took all of that and sewed it into Their mantle. Now They are holding out the mantle, shot through with threads of divine gold, to us.


How do we put it on?


As I sat on the couch the other day with the cat next to me, she started to groom herself. Her eyes were closed and she was purring, which meant that every so often she made a hilarious “yum yum” noise as she licked. She started with her little pot belly in the most beautifully mindful and loving way.


The best part? Sometimes she’d pause, look at me, then resume. “Are you getting all this? Do I have to spell it out for you?” Pets teach us so much!


What it would be like if we cared for our bodies with that much love and intention; if we put that much non-judgemental gentleness into the everyday things we do to keep our bodies running?


What if we allowed ourselves to pause in the daily chaos and truly taste our food and drinks without imposing morality on whether they’re “good or bad”? (Food is just food, it does not have morals!)


What if we took a few moments to clothe our bodies with love as we wrap them in fabric for the day, or in blankets for the night?


What if at the end of every journey of the day – whether it was to the home office or across the planet – we thanked our bodies for the places they help us travel to and experience?


What if we made a conscious effort to halt or disrupt negative self-talk about our bodies, to give them spaciousness instead of criticism?


Through taking on a body, God hallowed all bodies. Yes, all.


What if we really allowed ourselves to believe that?