Speaking of the incarnation of God in Christ, John of Damascus (676-749 AD) said, “God rescues man, like by like—most difficult though it seemed—and His wisdom is seen in His devising the most fitting solution of the difficulty. For by the good pleasure of our God and Father, the only-begotten Son and Word of God and God… bent the heavens and descended to earth… What greater thing is there than that God should become man?”
The Incarnation: What an unexpected turn in the story of Redemption! Yet the rumblings of this mystery are present throughout the Old Testament: Abraham bows down before Melchizedek, Joshua before the Angel of the Lord, and we all recall the mysterious “fourth figure” in the fiery furnace! Yet God did not leave Himself without witness outside of Israel. The Greeks dreamed of heroes such as Hercules, bridging the gap between the gods and man. The Mesopotamians conceived of the bridging of natures in the Epic of Gilgamesh. And even Plato longed for the possibility that a Philosopher and a King might be joined in one person. Still, for all their dreaming and longing, they couldn’t foresee the Lord’s ultimate plan of salvation.
Even Joseph might have rejected the incarnation of God if not for the intervention of the angelic dream saying, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) And just like that, Hope rumbles onto the scene in a near inaudible eruption—miles away from the epicenters of culture and empirical rule—quietly the Mighty One, the Lord, slips into our world unnoticed. Unnoticed by those who don’t have eyes to see and ears to hear. But for us children of God who are able to see—what seems dim and obscured to the world—is wonderfully and disruptively bright! Light! As Paul proclaims, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our heart to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ!” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
So to answer John of Damascus’ question above: “What greater thing is there than that God should become man?” There is nothing greater! For the incarnation of God in Christ leads to a perfect life… then to a costly death… then to a glorious resurrection… accomplishing for us so great a salvation. All so that we might say with another John, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
We at CSW are blessed to share in this Good News with you and your children each day at CSW and especially in this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year!
Head of School