Shocking: If we don’t understand the weight of the miracle of the incarnation of Christ, it’s because we don’t understand the weight of the holiness of God. The incarnation should shock us. In fact, it’s so appalling that it’s the reason why Muslims and Jews reject Christianity . They think it’s ludicrous that an infinite and holy God would become finite to live with unholy sinners.
Fearful: The holiness of God is fearful. When Moses asked to see His glory, He said, “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” . When the ark was being brought to Israel, some men looked inside of it and, as a result, God struck down fifty thousand men. The people despaired, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God?” . When David was bringing the ark to Jerusalem, one man touched it. God immediately struck him down, “and David was afraid of the Lord that day” . The nearer Ezekiel approached the throne of God, the less sure his words became: “Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face” . When Job finished questioning God, He answered, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? … Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” .
Incarnation: Jesus embodies the holiness of God. For Jesus is God and has been with God from the beginning . In him, God has effected complete self-disclosure. And it is a shocking miracle. Our holy God, who said, “man shall not see me and live”, became incarnate. People saw him and lived. Our holy God, who struck down thousands for mishandling the ark, became incarnate. People touched him and lived. Our holy God, whose magnificent throne left Ezekiel speechless, was born in a manger. Our holy God, who asked, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”, was born in an insignificant town. As Micah prophesied,“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” .
Prayer: Lord, The incarnation is so shocking because you are so holy. In advent, prepare us to receive your condescending love. Let us humble ourselves before you. Amen.
 Islam: In the Quran, we find the core of Islam in the command of the Muslim confession: “Allah begets not and was not begotten” (Sura al-Ikhlas 112). Elsewhere in the Quran, Muhammad gives a more radical argument to this theme: “The Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of Allah.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming to the unbelievers before them. Allah, destroy them! How they are perverted!” (Sura al-Tawba 9:29, 30). Judaism: The Jerusalem Talmud states explicitly, “If a man claims to be God, he is a liar” (Ta’anit 2:1). In the 12th century, the preeminent Jewish scholar Maimonides codified core principles of Judaism, writing, “[God], the Cause of all, is one. This does not mean one as in one of a pair, nor one like a species (which encompasses many individuals), nor one as in an object that is made up of many elements, nor as a single simple object that is infinitely divisible. Rather, God is a unity unlike any other possible unity.” |  Exodus 33:12-23 |  1 Samuel 6:1-21 |  2 Samuel 6:5-15 |  Ezekiel 1 |  Job 38-40 |  See John 1. |  Micah 5:2 ESV