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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Incarnation (2)

In the previous post, I suggested that the possibility of the Incarnation must be admitted.  Only the most arrogant of people would disagree with that statement.  In this post, I want to further suggest that the necessity of the Incarnation can be asserted.

If we look at human love, we quickly realise that it has the distinctive quality that it is never content to remain unknown - it must reveal, and express, itself; it can do no other.  The apostle John, in his first letter to the church at large makes, and repeats, the basic truth about Almighty God - "God is love" (I John 4:8, 16).  This love is not to the erotic, or sentimental 'love' that is most prevalent in contemporary western society, but is, in the Greek language, agape.  Such love was often described by my former minister, spiritual mentor, and personal friend, the late Rev George B Duncan, as "a minimum of emotion, and a maximum of evaluation".  It is a self-giving love that sees something of inestimable worth in its object.  It is, indeed, the very love of that Almighty God Whom it describes.  Since He is love, we may be assured that God would wish to reveal Himself to the objects of His love!

Human life then determines the manner of such a revelation.  Humanity is the only level of life that mankind can truly understand.  If God wished to reveal Himself, and His love, it is surely not unreasonable to expect that He would do so on that level, and reveal Himself as a Man.

This, as has been sung so often over the past weeks, is exactly what the Christian faith, and the Christmas message, claim that He did.  "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; Hail! the Incarnate Deity. Pleased as Man, with man, to dwell; Jesus, our Immanuel."  And that title "Immanuel" means "God with us". (see Matt.1:23).   Or what about words that are usually sung more quietly, and gently, but that proclaim the same message?  "Love came down at Christmas; Love all lovely, Love divine."

Yes, the Incarnation - the coming of the Creator in the very human flesh that He had created - is not only possible, it also makes perfect sense.  Those of us who believe that it is all wonderfully true can only join the shepherds and, much later (in spite of what nativity plays portray!) the Magi in bowing before the Christ-child in love and adoration.  "O come, let us adore Him - Christ, the Lord."

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