Daily Devotion

December 24, 2023

A whole new approach

“The Word became flesh.” Jn 1:14 NKJV


When the angel visited Mary, he said, “Don’t be frightened…God has decided to…bless you!” (Lk 1:30 TLB). Yet when it comes to approaching God directly, many religions are ruled by fear. Philip Yancey says: “Certainly the Jews associated fear with worship…A person ‘blessed’ with a direct encounter with God expected to come away scorched or glowing or maybe half-crippled like Jacob…Among people who walled off a separate sanctum for God in the temple and shrank from pronouncing or spelling out the name, God made a surprise appearance as a baby in a manger. In Jesus, God found a way of relating to human beings that did not involve fear…A New Covenant…that would not emphasize the…gulf between God and humanity but instead would span it. I learned about incarnation when I kept a saltwater aquarium. You would think, in view of all the energy expended on their behalf, that my fish would at least be grateful. Not so. Every time my shadow loomed above the tank they dove for cover…to [them] I was deity…too large for them, my actions too incomprehensible. My acts of mercy they saw as cruelty; my attempts at healing…as destruction. To change their perceptions…I would have to become a fish and ‘speak’ to them in a language they could understand. A human being becoming a fish is nothing compared to God becoming a baby. Yet, that is what happened at Bethlehem. The God who created matter took shape within it, as an artist might become a spot on a painting or a playwright a character within his own play. God wrote a story, only using real characters, on the pages of real history. The Word became flesh.”