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Making The Incomprehensible Comprehensible

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Last Holy Week I wrote of a slightly different take on the biggest miracle of that season:

In point of fact, if we shift our focus but a bit, the deepest miracle of Holy Week may not be the Resurrection. As we just said, this miracle was already firmly established. The real miracle may just be that Jesus died at all. Think about it. He was, after all, God Incarnate. He is the Alpha and the Omega – He was before and He will be after – he is the eternal God. How can that which is eternal die? How can that which is forever terminate?

The  miracle I am talking about there is the miracle of the “Incarnation” – that God became human and therefore capable of death.  That’s what we celebrate this Christmas and every Christmas, God becoming man.  We are not talking about God possessing someone like a ghost, nor directing someone like a puppet – we are talking about God being born, just like you and me.  Sometimes we try to get our head around this miracle by thinking of trying “to shove ten pounds of stuff into a five pound bag,” but that does not really cover it.  God is not simply bigger than us, He is fundamentally and essentially different.  The Incarnation is not just shrinking – it is transmuting.  It is like turning lead into gold – but even that is inadequate as an analogy.

That’s the thing, there are no words adequate.  God is simply incomprehensible to us.  We can know quite a bit about Him, but in the end we cannot fully understand, not even close.

There are two divides that render God so incomprehensible.  One is the fundamental nature of created and Creator.  This one we will never get our head around – that’s what I have been talking about.  But the other is our sinfulness.  When we think we can comprehend God, when we ignore the fundamental difference in our natures, that’s our sinfulness. Our sinfulness becomes apparent in our actions , but those actions are symptoms, not the disease.  The Incarnation is God overcoming the fundamental difference in our natures to show us what things would be like without the divide of our sinfulness – and moreover to provide us with what we need to overcome that sinfulness.  Christmas is all about God trying to make his incomprehensible nature a but more comprehensible.

That’s a lot of words, and they still do not capture the essence of the Christmas miracle.  The nice thing is we do not have to understand it, we just have to allow ourselves to be in the presence of Jesus.

Too often the American church ignores the mystical elements of our faith.  When it comes to the practical aspects of Christianity, we have the world beat, but when it comes to mystical part – we tend to run for cover.  Simply sitting the presence of Jesus is mystical experience. – It requires contemplating not what we understand, but  what we cannot understand.  This Christmas I think it is important that we take some time to simply acknowledge what we cannot understand – to become comfortable with our lack of understanding – and finally to know that that which we do not  understand is good.  Christmas is fundamentally outside of our understanding, but it is oh so good.


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