I’ve never forgotten the day I walked into a remote village, high in the mountains of Lesotho in Southern Africa. A small boy about 3 or 4 years old took one look at me, burst into tears, ran to his father and hid behind him, burying his face in his legs. This was not exactly the reception I had been expecting, but it suddenly dawned on me that I was probably the first white person the little boy had ever seen. As such I must have appeared to him to be some alien from a foreign world – no wonder he was terrified.
It got me thinking that if a God, one of whose chief characteristics was love, wanted to reveal Himself to His creation, he would probably want to find a way in which to do it that didn’t puzzle, confuse or terrify them, but rather in a way that would allow them to draw near to who he was and so discover the love that he had for them. After spending several years living with Jesus the gospel writers realised that that was exactly what God had done in Jesus, causing John to write, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”