Monday, 24 December 2007

The heart of God through the Christmas message

At this time of year, as I reflect on the Christmas message, I love taking a mental step back and thinking about what the incarnation reveals about the heart of God.

One of my favourite hymns, I think, captures this excellently. Verses 1 and 2 capture the depths of humility and grace that the incarnation reveals, pre-shadowing the further humiliation and kindness that Jesus would ultimately show in going to the cross.

I commend thinking deeply about these lyrics:

1. Astounding grace, that God the Son should choose
to leave the Father's glory and refuse
to clutch his dignity, exploit his right
and make himself a no-one in our sight.

All praise Christ and his astounding grace,
all praise his name.

2. The word made flesh, the Son of God a man,
the timeless one clothed in a mortal span.
Now born of dust, and in a manger laid:
transcendent God in human likeness made.

3. Astounding grace, that we should enter in;
he tore the veil, and cast away our sin;
he saw our hate, our dark and desperate lust;
he bore our guilt, and then declared us just.

4. Astounding grace, that Christ should suffer death,
and know first-hand the grave's corrupting breath,
the Prince of life, creation's gracious Lord:
he paid the price that we could not afford.

Words: D.A. Carson
Music: Steve James & Philip Percival

If you've never listened to it, let me also commend Mike Cain's sermon on Philippians 2:5-11 to you this Christmas.

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