“…and we saw his glory”

When I teach about religious relativism, I like to summarize it with a bumper sticker I saw a few years ago. The colorful plastic declared, “God is too big to fit in any one religion.” I tell students that’s very nearly true. History is littered with the crumbling remains of great religions built and abandoned in the face of the realization that human reason, and even human faith, are insufficient to reach into the heavens and know God.

Only insane hubris would deny that the Creator of the universe is far bigger than any religion that human mind or heart could devise. And so we would be condemned to helpless striving under the judgmental stare of a conscience that teaches us guilt but cannot offer us hope, had not the King of kings chosen to reveal himself to man. For even though God is too big to conform to any religion we might build, he fit very neatly within a stable in Bethlehem in the year that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

We’re told that the intersection between this mundane bit of government accounting and the governorship of a fellow named Quirinius marks the spot in history when God was born. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'”

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.'”

Every Christmas, we celebrate the moment at which God changed everything, the unthinkable instant when light blazed in the murky half-light of a fallen world. The blast of light from that manger in Bethlehem shines across the decades to a cross upon which hangs a man, and God; throwing into sharp relief the image that sets Christianity apart from any other religion. “And it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”

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