Since around 800AD the birth of Jesus Christ has been used as the pivotal point of history in many of the world’s cultures. We define our human history by the initials ‘BC’ – ‘before Christ’, and ‘AD’ – ‘anno Domini’ (the year of our Lord).

Beyond and beside this practical human invention is a deep reality: that the incarnation of the Son of God is indeed the centre point, the critical point, the defining point, not just in human history, but in the grand and over-riding plan and sovereign purpose of God which he willed and determined before the creation of the world. All of the Old Testament looks forward to this point. All of the New Testament reflects on this point.

Here at this point that which was promised and anticipated is implemented and fulfilled; that which God said would happen did happen. Here God’s eternal purpose, God’s eternal plan, is accomplished.

Here at this pivotal point, this incarnation, our ignorance of God is supplanted by knowledge of God.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation, any human claim that God does not exist is nullified.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation, all human questions about God are answered.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation, all human accusations revolving around God and human suffering are rendered void.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation, our fearful dread of God is replaced by joy in God’s presence.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation of God, our deep human agony can be exchanged for deep, deep peace.

Because of this pivotal point we sinners can be declared saints of God.

Because of this pivotal point, this incarnation, our guilt can be overwhelmed and disempowered by God’s grace.

But there is here also another thing, a personal thing: here at this pivotal point the eternal and the infinite coalesce with the temporary and limited. Here life intermingles with death. Here God becomes man.

And in becoming man he confronts every one of us with a challenge that must be answered, that must be faced.

Here is not just the pivotal point in the human calendar. Here is not just the dividing point in human history. Here is not only the fulfilment of the overpowering will and purpose of God.

Here is also the pivotal point, the deciding point of every human life: here, in this incarnation, each one of us must choose faith or unbelief, life or death.

Here, at this point is the final opportunity, the final offer, the final command: here God stands before us and says: ‘Here I am. This is who I am. This is what I am. Repent and believe. Choose me, choose life.’

Scriptures: Ephesians 1:4; 2Timothy 1:9; Colossians 1:24-2:3; Galatians 4:4; John 1:1-4,12-14,18;10:30; 3:16-19; 12:44,45; 14:7-9; Romans 5:1-11; 1John 5:11-13.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2010