What is God that he could be constrained? When Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, he acknowledged that God could not be contained within the Temple. Even the whole earth and the highest heavens could not contain God. God is beyond containment.
Yet, on the first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that around 2000 years ago, God took on flesh and became a man. Jesus Christ is God incarnate. The infinite within the finite, the immortal within the mortal. What people make of this varies considerably.
A lot of people would say this is impossible, because they believe God does not exist. Looking around, it would seem to take more faith to believe God does not exist than to believe he does exist. From the precise arrangement of the solar system, with the third planet from the sun being so carefully aligned that life could exist on it, to life itself. Life, that is so intricately designed from the smallest organisms, to the largest mammals, and so intricately interweaved into a complex and marvellous ecosystem. To believe this universe happened by chance, rather than to believe the universe was created by a creator, would seem a large leap of faith.
Some people may accept that God exists, but believe that the incarnation is beyond credibility. They refuse to accept that Jesus Christ is God. Yet looking at what he does and says in four separate accounts by the Gospel writers doesn’t leave much room for another explanation. C.S.Lewis titled it the Lord, Lunatic or Liar argument. If we cannot accept him as Lord, we can only come to the conclusion he is either a lunatic, on the same level as a man who claims to be a poached egg, or a liar from the pit of hell itself. (To paraphrase Lewis) But from what Jesus says and does, he is neither a lunatic nor is he a liar.
Ultimately, the incarnation was inevitable, as God loved us. Whilst it seems amazing that God would even consider us, given our insignificance before him. It is even more amazing given that we are rebellious sinners before a holy God. Yet, through faith in the incarnate Son of God, we can be made acceptable before him and he will make his dwelling in our heart.
In the evening we looked at the preparations God made for the first Christmas. For most of us, preparing for Christmas every year is quite an effort required to ensure everything is ready. Yet, God’s preparations for the first Christmas were made before the creation of the world. So much so, that at the time of the incarnation, every was set up and ready.
Over the centuries, the world around the Mediterranean had been quite volatile, but an empire had arisen which would bring stability to the whole region and even down to the level of the people. It was now possible for a man and his pregnant wife to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem without being attacked by bandits and thieves.
It become possible for people to travel the empire swiftly and safely across roads built primarily for the swift deployment of armies, but also aiding the quick dissemination of ideas and philosophies.
Through the wrangling of history, Greek had emerged as a common language throughout the empire, a language which was suited to the recording of philosophy and theology.
Whilst the Caesar’s of Rome, and the philosophers of Greece had their own thoughts and plans for the world. God has used them, and countless others throughout history – both to their knowledge and without their knowledge, to fulfil his plans. By his providence God’s preparations for the salvation of his people came to pass.