The Uncreated is Enfleshed and born among us

"Dear Savior, haste! Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show your face..."

The scandal of it! For good reason Moses in the Law forbade anyone to even attempt to put a face to God. The name of the Archangel Michael challenges us - 'Who Is Like God?' He who is beyond definitions, the Uncreated One, without beginning or end, the Uncircumscribed creator of the heavens, beyond even the possibility of human sight... how could a mere mortal human person dare to try and draw Him, to put a face on Him? Foolish arrogance! Sheer idolatry!

Yet, for God...just imagine, for one moment, that God would choose to do this. What would that mean? What would it say? So many people, bereft of any belief in revelation, find the idea of God plausible but meaningless, a reality so vast, so distant, that they feel indifferent, as though God could not care if He is so, so distant from us.

But just imagine, that this immense, unknowable God, lost beyond the ends of the cosmos, beyond our comprehension, and so totally unknowable - just imagine that He Himself chose to reverse this chasm, and so choose to become intimate with us, to take on a human face, so that we might see Him, gaze into His eyes, hear His lips speak, catch the sheer immensity of His love for us...what would this mean? Surely it would mean that He was not indifferent to us?

But could God be so humble as to empty Himself of His glory, that dark brightness which would blind our mortal eyes, so that we could actually behold Him? Could it possibly be, that God's love of humanity is such that messages were not enough to express that? Could it possibly be that God the Compassionate was indeed so compassionate, so bowled over by His love for us, that He split the heavens and descended to our level, bound Himself into our limited existence, with its mortality, its pettiness, it tragedies and sadness, so that despite our ignorance and our indifference to Him, He could be known not as indifferent to us? 

Surely, surely here God's compassion would be manifested in a way which was complete, in the complete giving of Himself?

This is what Jews cannot believe and Muslims refuse to believe, but which Christians confess is the truth. God has chosen Himself to do this, and in doing so is true to Himself, true to God who is love, and loves each of us with an infinite love, a love which gives and does not count the cost. We believe that God has become flesh, dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, and so shown us that He is not indifferent and remote from us but more intimate to us than the marrow of our bones.

And if He didn't choose to do so, then what would that say? That there was a limit to God's love for us, there was a limit to what He could do? But surely that is even more of a blasphemy! Or else it means He really is indifferent to us, either because He Himself is not personal, or is not Compassionate, but then really the universe would be the darkest of things, and how then could there be any beauty, any goodness at all?

This is the meaning of drawing the Face of Jesus, the Holy Face, the icon of the Mandylion, and it takes us to the very heart of the Nativity. Here is one I finished today, Christmas Eve, 2012.


Popular Posts