Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Implausible Journey

Yesterday while “weeding” children’s nonfiction at the library (looking for outdated and damaged books to discard), I ran across a fun book called Packs. It describes various groups of animals; what they are called and how they function as a community. On one page I read that a herd of wildebeests is called an implausibility. Can you believe that? This mostly useless fact seemed to jump off the page at me. “That’s something for the Advent blog!” it shouted.

Wildebeests, also called gnus, are large African antelopes. One online article describes them as “one of nature’s most befuddling quadrupeds… with the thick, horned bust of a buffalo, the spindly legs and wispy tail of a horse, and the scraggly whitish beard of a wizard.” They are itinerant enigmas, migrating up to 1,000 miles a year, across dangerous routes filled with predators.

Now for the word, implausibility—"the quality of being unlikely or difficult to believe.”

Sounds like the Incarnation to me.

There is a quote from Charles Spurgeon that goes something like this: “See how low He fell to lift us from our fall!”

Jesus didn’t just journey as a fetus from Nazareth to Bethlehem, He shattered the dimensions of time and space by traveling from Divine to Divine Incarnate. A huge distance. For us. To identify with us and vanquish the powers of sin and death for eternity. Sounds a little implausible—that the Lord of the Universe would descend to Earth as a defenseless baby. Implausible, like a herd of wildebeest.

“The story of Christmas is the story of God’s relentless love for us,” writes Max Lucado in his book, Because of Bethlehem. “The moment Mary touched God’s face is the moment God made is case: there is no place he will not go. If he is willing to be born in a barnyard, then expect him to be at work anywhere—bars, bedrooms, boardrooms, and brothels. No place is too common. No person is too hardened. No distance is too far. There is no person he cannot reach. There is no limit to his love. When Christ was born, so was our hope.” (p. 134-135)

It is a hope that often doesn’t make any sense. But if Christ was willing to travel that distance for us 2000 years ago—to become our Immanuel—oh, how much we can trust in Him today!


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