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A Christmas Mystery

December 24th, 2012

The mystery of Jesus’ birth is only exceeded by the unequalled majesty of Jesus’ life.

“This is the great mystery of our faith: Christ appeared in the flesh.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NLT.

I love the Christmas season and celebration of the Savior. I love the carols and decorations – children’s faces while opening presents with thankful hugs – singing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come; Let earth receive her King” with the Church family – Christmas Eve Communion and Christmas Day dinner with family and friends. I love Christmas!

Most of all, I love the mystery and majesty of Christmas, a story so inexplicable only God could envision it. How do you describe the wonder this miraculous season can bring – a worried king jealous of his throne, wondering shepherds rushing from their flocks, wandering kings bearing royal gifts from afar, and a worshiping couple still pondering the angels’ startling pronouncements. No wonder Mary “pondered all theses things in her heart,” and all who heard the shepherds’ stories “wondered at their words.”

Not much remains a mystery anymore. Christmas is and will remain so. Paul ponders the mystery as he wrote, “Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ appeared in the flesh . . was seen by angels and was announced to the nations.” 1 Timothy 3:16 NLT. This “great mystery” is: where and when would the Savior come – to Bethlehem not to Rome, to a stable not a palace; and how would the Savior come – as an infant miraculously born with our humanity, not a ruling conqueror; and for whom would the Savior come – for the worst and best among us, sinners all, not for the religious alone.

And how did this grand introduction to our world occur? “There were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood before them . . ‘Do not be afraid; I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:8-14 NKJV. Read Ephesians 1:7-12 NKJV.

The shepherds could have remained with their flocks, retelling their marvelous stories about angels. Instead, they rushed to become eyewitnesses of the Savior. “The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go and see this . . which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger.” Read Luke 2:15-18 NKJV. Inevitably, Christmas will pass, but the Savior will change your life forever. The mystery of Jesus birth is only exceeded by the unequalled majesty of His life in your heart. “We made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, [as] eyewitnesses of His majesty . . until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your heart.” 2 Peter 1:16-19 NKJV.The mystery of Jesus’ incarnation does not obscure the majesty of His sacrifice.

When the angels have gone away, will you stay as you were or will you seek a life-changing encounter with the Savior? Christmas is not about listening to the angels’ song; Christmas is about wanting to know the Savior. You have not experienced Christmas until you have personally embraced the One who is “born to you this day, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” Amid your celebration, reflect with wonder at both the mystery and majesty of “a Savior . .  Christ the Lord.”

This Advent, my prayer for you is that you will see the majesty as well as mystery of His birth.

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