The Mystery of Christmas | 25 Dec 10, Joe Sucher

The Christmas season is a special time of year.  It’s quite a mixture of both the secular and the sacred.  Both aspects of this holiday are enjoyed side by side by people all over the world.

The Mystery of Christmas

The Christmas season is a special time of year.  It’s quite a mixture of both the secular and the sacred. Both aspects of this holiday are enjoyed side by side by people all over the world. Legends, superstition, and misconceptions abound. Many Christians like to emphasize that they know the real “reason for the season”.However, even amongst Christians there can be some confusion. There are centuries of tradition, works of art and the interpretations of songwriters that can limit our thinking. The truth of the matter is that the Bible doesn’t give us all the details about the birth of Christ. 

Yet even though we do not know the exact date or time of His birth, we do know that at a specific time in history, in a specific place in the town of Bethlehem that Christ was born.  God became a human being so he could die for our sins and enable us to share in His glory.

 As Christians, we often want to jump ahead from the story of his birth and focus on the story of his crucifixion and resurrection.  Because it was announced that this child would be a savior , that he would save his people from their sins.But the story of Christ's birth or the incarnation is just a much a part of the Gospel story as his crucifixion.  Because unless Jesus was truly human, he could not have died in our place. But unless He was fully God , his death would not have saved us. He would have been just another prophet or teacher who died.

 As believers, we can lose that sense of mystery and awe about God, about the incarnation, the birth of Christ. At this time of year, there is a lot of talk about “the magic” of Christmas. I’d like to share with you a little about the mystery of Christmas.

 Paul told Timothy: “16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

     God was manifested in the flesh...”  In Colossians, he wrote:

 “that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge…”

 I’d like to share the Christmas story with you from the Gospel of John. One could say that John's version of the Christmas story is summed up in verse 14 of chapter one:

 “14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” NKJV

 John presents the Christmas story from a Divine perspective. But actually John's Christmas story starts at the beginning of that chapter:

 “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.”  NKJV

 You see the true Christmas story started in the beginning in the heart and mind of God before there was a baby, before there was a Mary or Joseph, before there was a Bethlehem or an Israel or any other city or nation.  Before there was even a planet Earth. It began before there was that special star or any star. Before there was a universe, before there was space or time. It began before there was an angel choir to sing to the shepherds, before there were any angels at all. The true Christmas story began when there was nothing but God Himself.  It began in the heart and mind of God before the foundation of the world. Jesus is called “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” I Peter 1:20 says:”God chose him for this purpose long before the world began.”

 A familiar Christmas verse is Micah 5:2

 2   “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

     Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,

     Yet out of you shall come forth to Me

     The One to be Ruler in Israel,

     Whose goings forth are from of old,

     From everlasting.

Another translation says “whose origins are from of old”

And so John writes: “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

Colossians 2 says:15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

It is clear that the child that was born of Mary was the Creator of all things!

 John continues in verse 10:

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 God entered this world as a baby in Mary’s womb. Not a fully developed baby ready to be born just minutes after the angel appeared to her, but she was “with child” by the Holy Spirit. She carried the child the normal way for nine months. When Mary visited her cousin,the Bible says Elizabeth spoke out with a loud voice:“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

That means that God became one us, became human, on a cellular level.  At the moment of conception not just upon delivery.  Within Mary’s womb, cells divided ,a child developed and grew until time to be delivered. A child that was fully human and yet fully God.

 Colossians 1:19 says: 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

2:9 says: 9For in Christ all the fullness of God lives in bodily form,

 The Ruler of the universe was a helpless child in Mary’s womb until time to be delivered. And then, in a stable , a baby’s cry was heard as the Son of God breathed air for the first time.Air that was filled with the smell of animals and hay, not the incense and perfumes of a king’s palace. Then he was wrapped in cloths and laid in a feeding trough, not the soft silks and the intricately carved beds of the wealthy.What an amazing entrance for the King of Kings! The God of all creation! Is it any wonder that a multitude of angels couldn’t hold back their praise?  

In Hebrews chapter one verse 6 it says:

6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

     “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

And that’s exactly what happened:

 Luke 2:“8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:14  “Glory to God in the highest,  And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

 We like to have a Christmas story that we can grasp, one we can hold in our hand as well as our minds. With our logical, analytical minds we want to be able to explain everything, put it all in neat little packages.  But the true Christmas story is beyond our comprehension because it talks about a God who is beyond our comprehension.  A God who is above time and space. A God who made all things, yet He became one of us! And He made it possible for us to become one of His children! To be born of the Spirit! What glorious mysteries! God was in Christ and now Christ is in us! Christianity is full of mysterious and awesome spiritual realities that are beyond our comprehension and it all centers in Jesus Christ. It is all possible because the Word became flesh!

 This Christmas season as we reflect upon all that God has done, let’s ask him to continue to reveal himself afresh to us.  To reveal himself to us as we go through our daily routines as well as in times of  prayer and Bible reading, and times of gathering together as His Body.

 In Ephesians 1 Paul wrote: “15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

 Let this be our prayer for ourselves and one another!

 

Merry Christmas and may God bless us every one!

 

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Comments: 1

28 Dec 10 Jean: What a wonderful message. Thanks.

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