“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) John the Apostle
expresses in short form the truth that God became a human and lived among the human race in
a specific time and place. This extraordinary event is called “The Incarnation,” a term which
literally means “In the flesh.” That is Good News for humankind.
Luke in his Gospel used a narrative in order to convey the same reality which John
revealed in his Gospel. The angel in the third Gospel announced to the shepherds, “For unto
you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The term, “Christ the
Lord,” means the same as “The Word became flesh…,” that is, God became human. We may
safely assume that as they returned to the pasture glorifying and praising God their lives were
never the same.
That is what the Incarnation does. It changes lives. It has for 2,000 years, and it still
New Guinea is one of the largest islands in the world. It is in the same portion of the
planet as Australia. Of the world’s 6,000 languages, this rugged island is home to 1,000 of them.
Some areas are so isolated that the people who inhabit those regions have never been
contacted by emissaries of a more “advanced” culture. In fact, some clans are so fierce that
neighboring peoples make every effort to avoid them.
Such was the case of the Fayu, who live in scattered, single family dwellings. These
nomads only interfaced with other Fayu family units once or twice each year when a few
commodities were exchanged and marriages were arranged. Even then, the gatherings were
The Fayu now number about 400 individuals. By their own account, they once
numbered approximately 2,000 men, women, and children; but these hunter-gatherers were in
the process of exterminating themselves. This tragic trend was taking place because this stone-
age society had no system by which disputes, even minor ones, could be settled. Seemingly
insignificant disagreements were likely to result in one of the parties having his head split open
by a primitive, yet effective, weapon. For this reason, even small family gatherings could be
A couple of decades ago, a Christian missionary couple was invited to live with a Fayu
family. The courageous pair accepted the invitation, learned the language, and sojourned
among them for over ten years. Gradually, the Fayu learned to resolve disagreements without
shedding each other’s blood or cracking someone’s cranium. Their miniscule society is now
more peaceful than it was a generation ago. (adapted from Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared
The Fayu have rejected violence as a means of conflict-resolution because of two
Christians. But it required more than two individuals. The transformation occurred because this
couple brought Christ to the Fayu. The missionaries proclaimed peace on earth, and the Fayu
accepted the promise of Christ.
The Christian couple was the Incarnation for the Fayu. Christ came into the violent world
of the Fayu, and they were changed. Just as the shepherds in Judea were transformed, the lives
of these New Guinea nomads were never the same because the Word had become flesh. In a
very real and powerful sense, the missionary couple, by their message and manner of living,
helped to alter the lives of the Fayu. They were the Incarnation, and the Incarnation changes
We, wherever we happen to live, are called to be the Incarnation for others. We are to
live in such a way that those around us can be touched by the truth that God has become a
human. Knowing that the Eternal has broken into this time and place enables peace to reign in
a world where conflict and violence had previously ruled.
Receive the Incarnation.
Be the Incarnation.
See lives changed.