The Christmas season is upon us once again! Out with the decorations, in with the cards, the gifts, and the decisions as to where and how we will celebrate this year. As we all know, the ‘packaging’ of this Christian festival sometimes obscures the reality of Christ’s birth and the true reason for the season. But we can choose not to be distracted by the mistletoe and the tinsel. We can choose instead to be centred on the mystery and the truth of Christ’s coming into the world.
Paul describes it like this:
“Great is the mystery of godliness – God manifested in the flesh”
Without a doubt our faith is fully of mystery, and that is not an excuse to believe the ridiculous and to throw out our logic and common sense. But the plain fact is that only a statement like Paul’s can do justice to the evidence of the Gospels. Jesus was no ordinary person. He was born of a virgin, and was the focus of miraculous signs indicating that he was special – the star witnessed by the wise men from the East, the angels declaring “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth goodwill towards men!” This extraordinary birth led to an extraordinary life causing people to wonder in amazement: “Who is he who commands the demons to leave, the waves to be still and the dead to be raised?” The answer is the mystery of the Christmas message – God manifested in the flesh. No surprise that the prophet Isaiah said,
“He shall be called Wonderful”
The wonder of Christ has captured the hearts and minds of countless millions down through the centuries – from peasants to princes, from kings to kids. Brendan, the great missionary to the north during the Middle Ages, tells of an encounter with the pagan King Brude. The king asked him, “If I believe your message, and become Christ’s man, what shall I find?” To which, the evangelist replied,
“You shall stumble upon wonder upon wonder – and every wonder true!”
I pray that this Christmas we will stumble again upon the wonder of the Christ and discover afresh the mystery of godliness for all our lives, for our friends and for our families.