Here is a Muslim street preacher defending an act of terror. Don't bother listening to his tirade. But at 6:40 tune in. Then you can hear the voice of a Christian woman passing by. She says about Jesus: 'there is no other Lord... He is the Lord of all of you.'
The preacher responds: "Everyone ignore the flesh worshippers... Let her go worship her flesh God."
Christmas celebrates the Word becoming flesh. The humanity of God. God the Son becomes God our Brother.
Muslims insist on a transcendence to Allah that insures his inhumanity. (Who can fail to see a link between the inhumanity of the god and the inhumanity of those acts done in his name!). The very notion of the Creator becoming flesh is, for Muslims, blasphemy. For us it is cause for worship.
In my sermon on John 1:14 this morning I tried a kind of response to this thinking:
The Muslim says that God is so transcendent He cannot become flesh. The bible says the very opposite. In the bible, the Creator Word of God is so transcendently, immensely, divinely, passionately loving that nothing would stop Him becoming flesh.
You see, if a king remains on the throne and never climbs down. That’s one kind of greatness, I suppose. But there’s another kind of greatness. It’s the greatness of the King who climbs down, who humbles Himself, who condescends, who joins His people, and then who descends even further – to take the clothing of a slave, to serve His people, to suffer and fight and bleed and die for them. That’s another kind of greatness entirely. That is the transcendence of the Word who became flesh.
Just think of an adult who speaks to a toddler while towering over them. And now think of one who stoops down to their level. Or think of a homeless man lying drunk in the gutter. One man gives advice from on high. Another lies down in the gutter with him, speaking to him face to face.
We are in the gutter. And Jesus joins us. On our level.
As our carol said earlier:
Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this!
Never has One so Mighty become so Meek. That is the transcendence of the Almighty Word. A transcendence that leads to incarnation. Because His glory - the glory of the Only Begotten from the Father - is a glory of grace and truth. And the incarnation is the very expression of this glory.