The Generosity of the Incarnation
by John Richardson | November 7, 2012
Christmas is wrapped in mystery and majesty. It’s surrounded with tales and traditions. It comes from the old days – Jesus days. And for a few brief moments each year, Christmas causes us to stop and focus on the joys of generosity.
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without the incarnation of Jesus? Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without the generosity of God? Some people cling to the belief that God is simply the giant watchmaker in the sky. He is the one who discovered the pieces of creation, ordered them carefully, wound them up and sat back to see what would happen. Some people still choose to believe that God is impersonal and distant.
What a sad world it would be if that were true.
I recently saw a poster that said, “Tuesdays are proof…that God hates us.” I don’t know that Tuesdays can be offered as proof for the “God hates us” theory, but I do know that a god who sets creation in motion without considering the outcomes is a scary god. Further, any god that may be entertained by watching from a distance as humanity suffers is a reckless and potentially hateful god.
But, the incarnation tells a different story.
God is with us. He is personal. He is so close that we can touch the hem of His robe. He weeps. He laughs. He loves. He reclines at the table with His creation.
The incarnation tells the story of a radically loving, generous God. He came into a hostile world to offer us gifts that are too great for words.
In his book Mere Churchianity, Michael Spencer says, “without the incarnation, Christianity isn't even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. ‘Be nice to one another’ is not a message that can give my life meaning, assure me of love beyond brokenness, and break open the dark doors of death with the key of hope. The incarnation is an essential part of Jesus-shaped spirituality.”
In other words, the incarnation gives Christianity its meaning. It is not only the door to the cross, but it is also the door to our purpose in life. The incarnation shows us who God really is. And remarkably, it shows us who we are. It shows us how to live and how to carry out the mission of God.
At its core, the incarnation shows us the way of God. It shows us that generosity is central to His mission and His nature.
Think about the depth of this generosity that comes through the incarnation:
The incarnation may be the most remarkable miracle to occur in the history of humanity. Beyond that, it may be the greatest story of grace and generosity ever told.
Philip Yancey reminds us “the God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright might become a character within his own play” (The Jesus I Never Knew, pg. 39). God became ordinary for us, so that we could understand the extraordinary offer of His generosity.
The incarnation and generosity are inseparable.
Jesus and generosity are inseparable.
If the incarnation is real, if the birth of God is true, He is far more than a watchmaker in the sky. And although it may not be printed on posters around the world, I think we can say with certainty, “The Incarnation is proof…that God loves us.”
So, this Christmas, wrap yourself in the generosity of God. Enjoy His grace and His goodness. Then, enter the hostile world around you to hand out gifts of love and generosity…even to those who dislike you.
After all, that’s what God would do if He were in your shoes.
To see how generosity captured the hearts of several 1st Christmas participants, click here.
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November 8, 2012 - 10:15:09 AM
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