In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. – Luke 1:39-40
While [Jesus] was blessing [the disciples], he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. – Luke 24:51
Being that we are 183 days from the start of Advent and 207 days from Christmas, it might seem a little odd to read that first verse of Scripture. Nevertheless, today the Western Church remembers when the Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Even though we are in the midst of what has historically been known as Ascensiontide (aka, Ascension Season), the celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord, as well as his birth, has entered into our midst.
The Ascension is very meaningful because it was when Jesus transitioned into the heavenly dimension which allowed him to fill all things. “Enthroned in heavenly splendor” is a poetic way we explain this idea. Truly, the Ascension has a clear focus on Jesus being God the Son to whom all authority on heaven and earth has been given. Because it has such a clear focus of our Lord’s divinity, we can lose sight of his humanity.
And yet today, the day after the celebration of his Ascension, we are remembering a festival that is connected with Christmas, which is about as focused on our Lord’s humanity as we can get. The two natures of our Lord Jesus Christ are simultaneously true while he remains being one whole person.
While talking about the union of the two natures of God can be confusing, it is of great importance. If Jesus had only been a human, all he has done would not have been enough to save, because the whole of Creation is in need of rescue and a drowning person cannot save another who is drowning. God had to be the one who saved us. However, if it had only been God appearing to be human, the means of our salvation through crucifixion and death suddenly do not have the weight that is needed to affect our rescue.
Thankfully for us, the one who has ascended into heaven is also the one who was in utero and then born of Mary. Jesus is the bridge who has cemented the connection between the Creation and the Creator. By bringing all things into one in himself, Jesus rescues us.
God continue to be with you!
Yours in Christ, Pastor Paul+