Today’s Reading: “I believe in God, The Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.”
The Incarnation: Deity appearing in human form. The Invisible becoming visible. Holiness entering into the profane. Light overshadowing dark. The Creator stepping into His creation.
Over the centuries, the human mind has developed storylines that truly capture our imagination. These are the stories that make for great reading and thrilling cinema. Truly, the idea that a god or high king would willingly step into our lowly human existence, entering, by choice, into our pain and suffering, is a story we all want to hear. Yet many today say that the amazing incarnational story of Jesus’ birth is just that…a warm-hearted story.
For those of us who have decided to trust Jesus of Nazareth as God’s only Son, our Lord, and Savior, the story of the Incarnation is much more than a nice fairy tale, more than a hopeful dream. For if the Incarnation of Christ is left out of our set of core beliefs, we just have a first-century, well-meaning carpenter from Nazareth who gathered men and women toward a good cause.
As I see it, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin are not little add-ons to make the Jesus story more interesting. The Christmas story, when examined carefully, contains just about everything we need to know about this God we’ve been talking about from the beginning of this blog series.
Let me explain.
First of all, most everything we find in religion boils down to two things. One, the human race, while a highly advanced species when compared to other life forms on the planet, finds itself separated from the Divine. And it’s this separation that is the bug-a-boo behind all of our problems and misery here in our human existence. Secondly, if anything is to be done about this sad separation between us and our Creator, it’s on our dime to find a way back to God.
Now, I really apologize for condensing all of the world’s religions into one short paragraph, but, in truth, them-there’s the facts.
So, when we, as Christ-followers, say, Wait a minute, what if we have it all backward, and it’s our Creator who is taking the necessary first steps to redeem our sad separation story? we now have turned world religion on its ear. You see, rather than having a God who is standing off to the side, waiting for His creation to address the separation problem, the Incarnation boldly states that we now have a hands-on, aggressively pro-active Father/High King/Creator who is taking this problem on all by Himself!
Let me say this another way…
If Jesus of Nazareth is not God-breathed (conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin) then that means the whole Jesus-event is no different from every other good work man has done over the centuries to initiate reconciliation with God. If Jesus is born into this world via human initiation alone, the whole story becomes one of human effort, leaving it to be yet another good attempt by well-meaning folks to get our God to step back into His creation.
But when the Creator initiates His own pro-active intervention on behalf of His creation, moving into the flesh in order to walk among us, we now have a powerful game-changer. This is why the Incarnation is non-negotiable. With it, we have a God who pro-actively moves on our behalf, and without it, a God who waits for us to make the first move!
So, which God do you have in your Creed?
My prayer: Father God, this is the game-changer when it comes to religion. If You are the pro-active One, the God who moves, first and foremost, on our behalf, then now, there’s hope for me, a lost sinner, to make my move toward You. Since You acted first, through the wonder of the Incarnation of Jesus, I’m now able to do my part. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to consider: How have I under-estimated the power of the Incarnation? Has Christmas become just a worldly celebration of Jesus’ birth, or do I hold it dear to my heart, knowing that it’s this story of God’s in-breaking power that serves as the foundational basis for everything else I believe about Christ?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are Contemplating The Creed?
Over a seven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Apostles Creed. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Creed home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!