With cruel hands, the Ebola virus mercilessly strikes against the human community causing incalculable harm. When this happens, we may be tempted to ask, “Where is God?” And when,  held in the vice grip of fear, people call for social legislation for the erection of walls to keep out the stranger who is suspected and unwanted, we may be tempted to ask, “What has happened to humanity?”

Then Christmas comes and we remember the mystery of the Incarnation.

In the Son, God actually takes up residency among us; God experiences the fury of ill fortune, the pain of rejection and the pangs of death. In Jesus, God walks the highway of despair, traverses the desert of desolation and wears the robes of an outcast who suffers the misery of exclusion.

God knows what we face when discouragement threatens our confident faith. God understands when, before the nightmare of a holocaust brought on by an infection, we eat the fruit of bewilderment and drink the wine of hopelessness.  God sees when we feast at the table of fearfulness and leave resolved to press for our own self-preservation rather than to fulfill the demands of neighbor love.

The one who, in Jesus, is truly God and truly human, knows our joys and our sorrows. God understands the triumphs and failures that accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage. Through the Incarnation, God calls us to remember the mystery of divine love, the marvel of divine compassion, and the miracle of divine grace.

“The word became flesh and dwelt among us … full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). We are not alone. The God who came to earth to live among us and who ascended into heaven, after partaking in our earthly nature, is still with us. Indeed, in Jesus Christ, we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). We sense triumph in the midst of tragedy and nurture hope as we traverse the path marked out by calamity. God, who came near us in Jesus, is with us still.

If we draw upon the resources that are available in the incarnate and resurrected Lord, we will not endure the lot of the faithless.

Neville Callam
General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance

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