Christmas is all about God becoming man — Christ is both man and God. What does this mean? Most of us ordinary mortals don’t really feel like God and don’t behave like Christ did. Our life ends just like the animals around us. Only a few of us are lucky enough to feel God as One with us. Yet there is something there – some of us are sure our beloved departed lives on within us and in Heaven.
Then there is Christ’s resurrection and appearance first to Mary. The Gospels report that it did indeed happen. Okay he came back but was this an earthly body? Jesus tells Mary, “Touch Me not” (John 20:17, KJV); but then later, speaking to Thomas, He says, “Reach hither thy finger and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side” (verse 27). With Mary, Jesus adds that he has not yet been to the father. Does this mean his body is somehow unclean and toxic or is there another meaning? Or is he simply telling Mary “To cling to, to lay hold of” his teaching? That he asks Thomas to touch his wounds seem to imply the cling idea; Christ wants Mary to stand on her own and become a great teacher of his Words. Christ tells Mary of the ascension. His plan was to ascend to the Father and then send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7; 20:22; Acts 2:1-4). Fellowship with Jesus would continue, but it would be a spiritual communion, not a physical presence.
All this tells Christians that after death we are indeed recognizable, can be seen and touched by our loved ones, can carry on a conversation with them and like Christ will become fully one with the Father! Yes Christians believe in the resurrection of the body. The Resurrection of the body in our creed means The belief that after death one’s departed soul will be restored, or resurrected, to a bodily life in heaven. The Gospels tell us Jesus performed miracles of raising the dead to life as symbols Yes in death, there is a separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body.
Note however it is not the same body – it has somehow been purified and made one with God. Yes after death we are One with our spouse and God and yes like Christ our loved one has gone to prepare place for us in Heaven. And we are still united as One. Yes after death God transforms the body from an earthly state into conformity with the body of His glory. The Christian confession is not “I believe in going to heaven when I die,” but “I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:4;).