Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body … 1 Timothy 3:16

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus coming in a body as a baby. Yet if we stop and ask why, we face a great mystery. Why would God pinpoint a time in the history of the world to send his Son from the glories of heaven to a world wrecked by sin? It isn’t a question with a straightforward answer.

God’s investment of time and effort on the human race seems completely unwarranted. The cost is high—the life of His Son and the returns seem low—so many rejected Him then and they reject him now. We conclude it is because of God’s great love yet we need to pray for the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18). For such love has no parallel in human history.

How do we explain to a disbelieving world that there is a God who loves so deeply? A holy being who would dare to come to earth and be treated so poorly without retaliation. A majestic being who would identify so totally with his creation and suffer massive humiliation. A divine being who could demand allegiance but instead prefers to woo his creation.

In the film, Keeping Mum, Rowan Atkinson plays the part of a minister and delivers a surprisingly good sermon on God’s mysterious ways. He quotes from Isaiah 55, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” then Atkinson remarks, “God is saying, ‘I’m mysterious. Live with it!’”

The only thing to do with such mystery is to marvel. Every Christmas we marvel again—The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).