Shining in the Darkness

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Published in: on 12/26/2016 at 9:44  Leave a Comment  
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Deity Downsized

jesus-in-the-mangerA lowly Babe lies in the lowly cradle of a lowly town, the offspring of a lowly mother. Look again. That child is the eternal “I AM.” He whose Deity never had birth, is born “the woman’s Seed.” He, whom no infinitudes can hold, is contained within infant’s age, and infant’s form. He, who never began to be, as God, here begins to be, as man. And can it be, that the great “I AM THAT I AM” shrinks into our flesh, and is little upon our earth, as one newborn of yesterday? It is so. The Lord promised it. Prophets foretold it. Types prefigured it. An angel announces it. Heaven rings with rapture at it. Faith sees it. The redeemed rejoice in it.

–Henry Law

The Weakness of the Almighty

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He was created of
a mother whom He created.
He was carried by hands that He formed.
He cried in the manger in wordless infancy,
He, the Word, without whom all
human eloquence is mute.

–St. Augustine

Published in: on 12/16/2016 at 21:35  Leave a Comment  
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The Scandalous God

manger-baby-copy-2The incarnation is a kind of vast joke whereby the Creator of the ends of the earth comes among us in diapers… Until we too have taken the idea of the God-man seriously enough to be scandalized by it, we have not taken it as seriously as it demands to be taken.
         –Frederick Buechner

The Descent of God

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He has entered our flesh,
our frailty, our failures.
You don’t have to lift
yourself an inch.
He’s come all the way down.

–Glen Scrivener

Published in: on 12/14/2016 at 9:30  Leave a Comment  
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The Unscripted God

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In the place least expected,
in the way least expected,
under conditions least expected,
God shows up.

Unpredictable, unimaginable,
incomprehensible.
Divinity and humanity
in one bundle.

Splendor in a stable
Divinity in diapers
Majesty in a manger
This is our God.

Goodness Came Among Us

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If, so to say,
the Idea of the Good
has actually entered
the room and spoken,
we have to stop
our former discussion
and listen.

–Lesslie Newbigin

When Holiness Came Down

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THE BIGGEST AND MOST DECISIVE EVENT that has ever happened or can happen on this planet took place. The Incarnate Creator visited our world—and we rightly sing: “O, Holy Night.” His entrance into time made that night, and in a sense every night, holy. His incursion into the human race underscores the sacredness of every human life. His presence in our world turned a stable into a holy place, and since He walked the soil and breathed the air of our planet, it too has become a holy place. He labored as a carpenter, making work a holy vocation. He finally died on a cross—and transformed that instrument of the curse into something holy.

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When He comes into our lives He fulfills the original design that we should be holy and without blame before Him. And when He finishes doing what He is going to do all things in heaven and earth will be reconciled to God and goodness. He will make every molecule in the universe vibrate in delightful harmony with his holiness. In Christ all things return to wholeness and happiness.

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This is cosmic news—the Good News that will make every planet, every cell, every thing dance with joy at the wonder of it.

Holy moly.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

A Terrible Force

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Loving humility is a terrible force:
it is the strongest of all things,
and there is nothing else like it.

–Fydor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov

One Can Never be Sure

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THE CHILD IS BORN in the night among the beasts. The sweet breath and steaming dung of the beasts. And nothing is ever the same again.

Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man . . .

–Frederick Buechner
The Hungering Dark

God had to come

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Published in: on 12/16/2015 at 3:51  Leave a Comment  
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Searching by starlight

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And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect.
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

–U. A. Fanthorpe

Within our grasp

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Invisible in His own nature
[God] became visible in ours.
Beyond our grasp,
He chose to come within our grasp.

–Leo the Great

Not a code or an idea

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If the Word had become printer’s ink, it would have become a code. If the Word had become an idea, it would have been a philosophy. But the Word became flesh and therefore became a gospel—good news.

–E. Stanley Jones
The Way to Power and Poise

Grace descended

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Man fell miserably,
but God descended mercifully;
man fell through his pride,
God descended with his grace.

–St. Augustine

When God was made like man

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‘Twas much, that man
was made like God before,
But, that God should be made
like man, much more.

–Dr. John Donne,
Holy Sonnets (no. XV)

Image: http://www.gerrit-van-honthorst.org/

The coming of God

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We cannot take a step
toward the heavens.
God crosses the universe
and comes to us.

–Simone Weil

Redemptively invaded

earth 22 copy 2The Gospel is not an academic discussion of truth—a set of doctrines about life, but an interpretation of “things” (Lk. 1:1) . . . Some “things” had happened on this earth that had never happened before—our planet has been invaded by God—redemptively invaded. That is the biggest and most decisive “thing” that has ever happened or can happen on this planet. . . .

This is cosmic news—the Good News, that will make every planet, every cell, every thing dance with joy at the wonder of it.

Of all the things that have happened, or could happen this is the thing . . . the Central Cosmic Fact: God appeared on a little planet to take us by the hand and put us back on the Way. This is news—Good News—comparatively speaking, the only Good News that ever reached our planet.

-–E. Stanley Jones

Glory in the common

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When fascinated
with the spectacular,
we will miss glory
in the common.
A stable in Bethlehem
is not exactly
a flashy venue.

–Stephen Crosby

 

Published in: on 11/30/2015 at 17:02  Leave a Comment  
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Holiness in a barn

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Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of mankind.

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If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, the birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too.

–Frederick Buechner
Secrets in the Dark

Image:
“Behold The Lamb Of God”
by Walter Rane

He will not be without us

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The Maker
of heaven
and earth in His
overflowing love
will not be
without us.
He’s freely
come to us
in Jesus.

–T. F. Torrance

 

Image: “Nativity” by 
Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre

 

Dreams come true

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The place that
the shepherds found
was not an academy
or an abstract republic,
it was not a place of myths . . .
explained or explained away.
It was a place of dreams
come true.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

It started in a stable

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God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him. “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift was given.”

–Philip Yancey
The Jesus I Never Knew

Image: Michael Dudash

Published in: on 12/18/2014 at 3:08  Leave a Comment  
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The humility of God

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By far the most significant event in the whole course of human history will be celebrated, with or without understanding, at the end of this season of Advent… What we are in fact celebrating is the awe-inspiring humility of God, and no amount of familiarity with the trappings of Christmas should ever blind us to its quiet but explosive significance…

God’s insertion of himself
into human history came about
with an almost frightening
quietness and humility.

…As millions will testify, he will come once again with the same silence and the same devastating humility into any heart which is ready to receive him.

–J. B. Phillips
(1906-1982)

Artwork: Rembrandt

The journey home

1 Shepherds going into Bethlehem

Bethlehem is not the end
of our journey
but the beginning—
the place through which
we must pass if ever we are
to reach home.

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 12/15/2014 at 5:30  Leave a Comment  
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When Love stooped

the-birth-fo-jesus-by-carl-heinrich-blochLove that goes upward, from
the heart of man to God, is adoration. Love that goes outward, from one heart to another, is affection. But love that stoops is grace and God stooped to us. This is the most stupendous fact of the universe. It reveals to us that our God is love.

–Donald Grey Barnhouse

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Painting: Carl Heinrich Bloch

When God drew near

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On a wintry night
in an obscure cave,
the infant Jesus was
a humble, naked,
helpless God who
allowed us to get
close to him.

–Brennan Manning

Image: Michael Dudash

Ongoing astonishment

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Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said; “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens
and earth
Be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler
rooms of our hearts
and says, “Yes,
let the God of Heaven and Earth
be born here….
in this place.

-Leslie Leyland Fields

Image: Michael Dudash

Incomprehensible

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You can more easily
catch a hurricane in a shrimp net
than understand the wild, relentless,
love of God made present
in the manger.

–Brennan Manning

Image: Michael Dudash

The return of the King

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Christianity is the story
of how the rightful King
has landed and is calling us
to His great campaign
of sabotage.

–C. S. Lewis

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