Being amazed by the incarnation

Posted: December 24, 2012 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Thoughts

Here is a letter a friend shared with me written by a missionary in Cambodia.

As you will remember, last time we wrote to you traffic was horrendous as roads were blocked so that dignitaries and powerful people could go to and from meetings. Well, we’re happy to report that the hubbub is over, traffic is once again flowing freely and life has pretty much returned to business as usual. Well—almost. Since there is a 3-day holiday week, the streets are actually somewhat emptier than usual as people make their way out to the provinces. It was almost enjoyable to drive to church yesterday.There the speaker started out by saying that the earth holds a very privileged and unique position over all other places in the universe, and that of all life on earth, humanity is the most exalted. I waited in agreement, expecting a description of the many minute things about the earth that make it uniquely capable of supporting life. Or I thought they would go on explain the wonders of the human body, so complex that science has not yet unraveled all the mysteries of this amazing system.
But no. She simply stated that, of all the places in the universe, only here did the Lord and Creator of all choose to dwell in bodily, physical form. And the form He chose was that of a human. In our pursuit to plumb the theological depths of the incarnation, sometimes we forget to just stop and marvel at its wonder.

I thought back to last week. Monday was the absolutely worst day for travel, with roads closed for hours at a time. Do you know who arrived that day? None other than the President of the United States. Yes, Barack Obama was in Cambodia for just about 24 hours, and believe me, it was a BIG deal. Why? Well, for starters he is, as I understand, the first US president ever to visit Cambodian soil. And regardless of your politics, a visit from the leader of a super power gives a little place like Cambodia some status, some dignity, some credibility on the world stage.

How much more, then, that the King of the Universe chose to spend some time on this planet? What nobility and honor that act gives this little ball of water and dust! And what’s more, that He would stoop to contain His infinity within the confines of flesh and blood. Imagine the value and dignity that gives the human race! Not only were we made in His image, but He also chose to become one of us for a time. The more I stop to think of it, the more mind-boggling and awe-inspiring I find it.

But in spite of being the miracle of the ages, Jesus’ incarnation was not greeted with much fanfare. Sure, there was an angel choir, but nobody lined the streets (except for that one time…). There were no armed guards, no black limos, no photo ops or welcome banners. Nobody even stopped traffic when the Son of God came to earth. In fact, the world didn’t even recognize Him for Who He was. 

No, the sermon yesterday was not a Christmas message. It was actually on the first chapter of Colossians. But I was challenged to take a second look at the Christmas story because of it. What a shame that the words, the concepts, the plot of the most amazing act of all time has become so familiar that it ceases to take our breath away, fails to stir us deeply or blow our minds. As we draw near the Christmas season again, stop and think twice about the incarnation. Find it incredible once again. Marvel at the incredible honor He bestowed on our planet and our race.

1. Praise God for a good meeting of the Prayer Support Team, and that a number of people were ministered to in prayer this past Sunday. Pray that Deborah can find someone to step in and take her place as the coordinator of this ministry.

2. Pray for Steve as he keeps teaching Firm Foundations, and for both of us as we step back into coaching roles after stepping out of them briefly during our very busy weeks

3. Pray that we will have meaningful fellowship this week, as we meet with a few people to start the process of saying good-bye.

4. Ask God for safe travels and a good visit for Fenton McDonald, arriving on Thursday, November 29.

John 1:10–11, 14
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.…

I pray that this would make us stand in amazed with the incarnation. 

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