What is God really like?
Words and images concerning God infuse our consciousness from early childhood and combine in to form a potent but unexplainable impression. For those who pray, that impression governs the way we pray. For those who consciously seek to serve God, it governs the way we live our lives. Meanwhile there are others who simply can’t believe in a god like the one they imagine, and opt out.
So what is God really like?
Many of the images that shape our understanding of God are expressions of power. Christianity features terms like: Almighty; omnipotent; King of kings; all seeing; all knowing; Lord. These terms have their roots in the dynamics of human politics. God is presented as an absolute and unrivalled power broker - President of the Universe.
Is that really what God is like?
This week we celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you look through the glitter and greenery of the ancient winter festival, you will catch a glimpse of a newborn child, wrapped in strips of cloth by inexperienced working class parents, and lying in a manger because all the beds were taken by others. There is no hint of power or wealth in this image, yet this is how “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” This, therefore, is what God is really like.
The Christmas story is God setting the record straight. God wants us to see that he is not at all interested in wealth and power. He is only interested in faithfulness and love.
The story of Jesus’ birth is God’s self-portrait. This is what God is really like.