The incarnation causes us to wonder anew at the God of mystery.
It is late at night and from a cave, among the sounds of the animals, a cry is heard in the darkness. A son has been born to a simple Galilean peasant girl called Mary – her firstborn. She calls him Jesus because, as the Lord told Joseph, her husband, He will save His people from their sins. Yet by this simple birth, as simple as any other that was before and has been since, God comes among His creation in a way never before experienced.
Picking up the thoughts of Isaiah’s prophecy written 700 years before this birth (Isaiah 7:14), Matthew tells us that this was the birth of Immanuel, which means God with us (Matthew 1:23). However, in the gospel narratives it is left to John to make clear what this idea of Immanuel means. He tells us that this baby, called Jesus, is God in human flesh (John 1:1–14). It is a wonderful mystery; a mystery which we cannot fully understand; a stumbling block in this scientific, rationalistic age, but a mystery from which we can truly benefit. Through faith in Jesus we are numbered among those who are saved from our sins.
Mystery is at the very heart of the activity of God. Who can understand how He was able to speak the world into being? Who can understand the call to come to God in prayer – how He not only hears those prayers but also answers them? Who can fully understand how the death of this Son of God on the cross pays the price for our sin and enables us to be called sons of God ourselves?
Not everything has to be understood in order to be enjoyed. Mystery leaves room for faith and it is faith that touches the heart of God. However, in Asia this Advent season, whilst billions of people’s hearts yearn for the joy of the salvation found in this Immanuel, they have yet to hear of Him.
We believe in the power of Jesus to transform every Asian life, and long for all of the people of Asia to hear of Jesus, receiving the opportunity to experience the salvation He brings. We don’t know how God is going to accomplish this. It is a mystery! But we do our small part and trust that the God of mystery will bring about His purposes for Asia.
Could God be calling you to join Him in this work? Might you be called to pray, to give, or to go on a short–term team? Might you be called to serve God’s work in some other way? As we reflect on the mystery of God’s love for us this Christmas, let us also long to see his love at work among the people of Asia!