We look back on history, and what do we see? Empires rising and falling; revolutions and counter-revolutions succeeding one another; wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed; one nation dominant and then another. As Shakespeare’s King Lear puts it, “the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon…” Can this really be what life is about, as the media insist? This interminable soap opera going from century to century… from era to era, whose old discarded sets and props litter the earth? Surely not. Was it to provide a location for so repetitive and ribald a performance that the universe was created and man came into existence? I can’t believe it. If this were all, then the cynics, the hedonists, and the suicides would be right. The most we can hope for from life is some passing amusement, some gratification of our senses and death. But it’s not all.
Thanks to the great mercy and marvel of the Incarnation, the cosmic scene is resolved into a human drama. God reaches down to become a Man and Man reaches up to relate himself to God. Time looks into eternity and eternity into time, making now always, and always now. Everything is transformed by the sublime drama of the Incarnation…
The True Crisis of Our Time
It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.
If God became incarnate, what kind of man would He be?…We would expect Him to be sinless; we would expect him to be holy; we would expect His words to be the greatest words ever spoken; we would expect Him to exert a profound power over human personality; we would expect Him to perform supernatural doings; and we would expect Him to manifest the love of God. Of all human beings who have ever lived, Jesus Christ alone met all of those criteria.
We cannot commune with a sunbeam, or say our prayers to the force of gravity, or bow down to the multiplication table, however true they may be. Abstract beauty is tiresome, but a beautiful face never is. Love read about and extolled may disgust, but when love meets us in a person, it is different. Religion may seem the driest thing in the world. but when Religion comes to us bending in lowly services, healing our wounds of body and soul, speaking to our drooping spirits and making them alive again, and showing us the Father, then we bow . . . forever captivated.
–E. Stanley Jones
Christ at the Round Table