Read by yours truly

Imagine an essence so powerful and relentless that nothing can resist it. Dig into your science fiction memory bank and think of raw intelligence, perhaps observable as pulsating shimmering brightness. Got an image? Add to the picture that it has always been there and cannot ever be diminished. Surprisingly its nature is not dark and destructive, impersonal and cold, self-exalting and demanding. It moves ever outward with prolific artistic imagination, mathematical precision, and scientific accuracy shaping and sustaining life in every conceivable form. Its nature and intention is at once an enigma and a wonder. There is ceaseless movement, constant attentiveness, enveloping time and eternity, progressive unveiling, dropping clues and inviting inquiry.

This could be one way to describe the life force, the higher power, that pervasive thing we call deity. One day each year we pause to consider and celebrate the entrance of this Being into our world. Skeptics may dismiss God’s story as superstition or contrivance but are defeated by historical facts and insurmountable eye witness testimony. After two thousand years the event continues to grip and shape humanity. As the world stops to party and gift and go to church, consider the implications. God entered humanity to be one of us with a cataclysmic aftermath. Unexpectedly the irresistible force has been found to be personal, full of emotion love and compassion. He reveals that creating was for friendship and not domination. Creating for sheer joy and pleasure. Inviting and not demanding. Mysterious and yet revelatory.

Consider the story of His entrance into our little speck of dust that has so captivated our hearts and imagination. Heralded by shimmering beings of light from a veiled part of the cosmos as universal Savior and King, revealed to the marginalized of society rather than the wise and powerful, carried in the body of a young woman bearing the reproach of pregnancy before marriage, arriving in obscurity and lowliness though attended by a special astronomical event. Few recognized the invasion of heaven’s God. He is sure to be missed by any considering themselves wise or important or moral. He broke the rules, defied logic, and made His arrival subtle and easily missed. Earth’s power seeks domination. He turned that concept upside down, not just as a rule for others, but choosing it for Himself.

That science fiction concept of raw intelligent power deity is terrifying, like a tsumani creating and destroying indiscriminately. It is also fearful to conjecture that there is emotion and personhood driving it. No wonder mythology is filled with angry gods subjugating humanity for their whims – that’s logical. Our mistake is to consider Him a harmless grandfather without teeth. Whatever you think of when you think of God, the picture is too small, inaccurate and limiting. That’s why we minimize sin, make excuse for indifference. Think for a few moments what it will be like when we meet our designer, creator and redeemer face to face. He knows all about us with perfect memory, He can undo us in an instant – and has every right to do so. But then, there is the manger – our hope or our undoing, depending on how we respond.

The manger is not an intuitive symbol of an omnipotent God. Perhaps that is why we cherish it and imitate the sharing of that greatest gift with our own benevolence. As you think about the ‘reason for the season’ this year let your heart melt in love for a King who became a servant – unknown, misunderstood, scorned, ignored, and hated – all for you and me. More eloquently expressed:

Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King!

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell;
Jesus, our Emmanuel!

Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Risen with healing in his wings,
Light and life to all he brings,

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lay His glory by
Born that man no more may die

Come Desire of Nations come,
Fix in us thy humble home.
Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness now efface
Stamp thine image in its place