Bridgewater, December 2012
James S. Stewart, in one of his
most notable sermons, preached that Christian believers should proclaim the Incarnation.
Taking his cue, I searched my memory and archives to find what for me is a perfect example to share this Christmas
season. Malcolm Muggeridge, in his book, Jesus, The Man Who Lives*, offers this
This was the incarnation, described
in the opening words of the Fourth Gospel, in a passage surely among the greatest ever to be written at any time or by any
hand. From its triumph and opening: In
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, to its beautiful and comforting conclusion: And the Word was made flesh and dwelt
among us....full of grace and truth, it conveys with perfect clarity why the Incarnation had to be, and what it meant for mankind, at the time and forever after....“So the story of Jesus has to
begin with the Incarnation; without it, there would be no story at all. Plenty
of great teachers, mystics, martyrs and saints have made their appearance at different times in the world, and lived lives
and spoken words full of grace and truth, for which we have every reason to be grateful.
Of none of them, however, has the claim been made and accepted, that they were Incarnate God. In the case of Jesus alone the belief has persisted that when He came into the world God deigned to take
on the likeness of a man in order that thenceforth men might be encouraged to aspire after the likeness of God; reaching out
from their mortality to His immortality, from their imperfection to His perfection.
It is written in the Old Testament that no man may see God and live; at the same time, as Kierkegaard points out, God
cannot make Man His equal without transforming him into something more than Man.
The only solution was for God to become Man, which He did through the Incarnation in the person of Jesus. Thereby, He set a window in the tiny dark dungeon of the ego in which we all languish, letting in a light,
providing a vista, and offering a way of release from the servitude of the flesh and fury of the will into what St. Paul called
the glorious liberty of the children of God.
* The London Times affirmed this
book to be “Muggeridge’s masterpiece, the greatest achievement of
his life as a writer.”
The path that I have trod, has
brought me nearer God, though oft it led through sorrows` gates. Though not the way I'd choose, in my way I might lose, the
joy that yet for me awaits. Not what I wish to be, nor where I wish to go. For who am I that I should choose my way? The Lord
will choose for me, 'tis better far I know. So let Him bid me go; or stay. The
cross that I must bear, if I a crown would wear, is not the cross that I would take. But since on me 'tis laid, I'll take
it unafraid; and bear it for the Master's sake. Submission to the will, of Him who loves me still, is surety of His love revealed.
My soul shall rise above this world in which I move; I conquer only when I yield. Lyrics to “Submission” by C. Austin Miles
Wishing you Blessed Holidays