The Wonder of Christmas
by Dave Breese
We have celebrated Christmas nearly 2000 times now. So often, in fact, that the wonder of it all may risk being lost to the familiarity of it all. That familiarity which produces a calloused spirit is compounded by excessive commercialism so common to Christmas all across the world. Despite this, we must implore our jaded spirits never to lose the sense of awesomeness of the seasonThe Wonder of Christmas.
There are, in fact, several elements of the Christmas story which should re-enhance the sense of awe which we are to have concerning that first Christmas and all that happened there in and around the little town of Bethlehem.
There is, first of all, The Wonder of the Wise Men. Somewhere in “the East” there were men who were wise. Their homeland may have been Persia, Syria, India, Afghanistanwe are not told. We are only informed that they were men and that they were wise. We know nothing more. Were they kings, princes, merchants, carpenters, commonerswe do not know. God has only informed us of one fact about themthey were wise.
What then is wisdom? It is being able to see His Star and to come to worship him. Millions of brilliant people live in our world as they did in that world. Few, however, have real wisdomthe wisdom to drop their normal, their comparatively worthless pursuit, knowing that Jesus is visiting them, to come to Him. They came with their gifts, the wise men did, thereby proving that they were wise enough to trade their human possessions for treasures in heaven. Who would be wise today, would follow their example.
Then there is The Wonder of the Star. When God sent His Son into the world, He heralded His coming in but a few significant ways. One way was “His Star” in the eastern sky. “His Star”this is most interesting. God chose not to fill the heavens with His glory in overwhelming fashion for the wise men (He will do that one day), but He chose a star.
To see a star, one must look up. We must not be so preoccupied with the baubles in our hands or the food on our tables that we miss the light of heaven. A star is a glorious thing, but it is not so glorious that it cannot be ignored by those who always and ever stare at the mud at their feet.
How many this Christmas will be so preoccupied with the immediate, “the necessary” that they will not look up (“How poetic and impractical” they will say) and, therefore, miss the star? Christmas is the gentle revelation, the twinkle of a star. Those who refuse to hear and heed the gentle revelation risk the devastating voice of earthquakes, volcanoes, the sterner voice of the God who will not finally be ignored.
We have then The Wonder of the Shepherds. The announcement which came to those humble and simple man was an angelic announcement. “A multitude of the heavenly host” who spoke from the sky saying, “Glory to God in the Highest.” Theirs was the simple pursuitthat night it was touched with glory.
We have no indication that these men were deep thinkers, examiners of the sacred texts, or philosophers. They were perhaps deficient in their study of Scripture and their analysis of the times. What came to the wise men by reason plus observation, came to the shepherds by revelation. God had not forgotten the simple of earth in His comingHe sent his angels to bring them the announcement.
The result was the same. They too went to Bethlehem and worshiped Christ. In their simplicity, their wisdom was still enough to see and to do the right thing. Let no simple man ever again say, “The Gospel is too complicated, too deep.” Let him hear the simple announcement and come with the wise to Bethlehem. Here is where meets the wise and the simple.
There is also The Wonder of the Virgin. Mary was a virtuous Jewish girl who was willing to be the handmaiden of the Lord. Her willingness to “present her body a living sacrifice” made possible the most notable miracle in human historythe virgin birth of Christ.
Indications from Scripture are that the sinful heritage of mankind is transmitted from generation to sad generation by the male of the species. Perhaps this was God's eternal plan so as to make possible the advent of a sinless Savior. They surely means that there is something very special, something supremely holy about the feminine gender. This we know, that the virgin's womb became the Savior's first home and the fountain of life for all mankind.
Mary, her person, her attitude of submission to the Divine will, were the human keys to a great working of God for the salvation of man. Her example is clear and self-elucidating.
Finally, there is The Wonder of the Incarnation itself. In the birth of Christ, God became a man. He chose to share our humanity and make Himself one with us, to have flash and blood like we do. At this point the mind stops, being overwhelmed by the mystery, the staggering condescension. It is as if a man carved a puppet and then made himself one like the carved puppet. Who can explain? Who can comprehend?
Let us remember that this was no temporary association on the part of Jesus Christ. He literally became a man forever. For all eternity, Jesus is mana fact which staggers the mind. In this very hour Christ is the man and the glorytrue deity, true humanity. As such He could be our example. He could show us, teach us and, most of all, He could die for us. He was born to live and born to die.
The wonder of the incarnation means that Christ knows, understands and commiserates with us. He is not untouched with the feelings of our infirmities. We have a Savior who is one with God and one with us.
This man, Jesus Christ, has the credentials to be our human King, our God and Savior. Indeed, He will one day come again to be reunited with humanity, and take us home to be with Him. We who believe in Him will live with him, reign with him and share His palace on high.
Are you a Christian? Make today the day in which you believe the gospel, accepting Christ as your personal savior.
The wonder that began that first Christmas morningthe wonder of the incarnationwill be fulfilled in its final reality and explained in its ultimate clarity only when Jesus Christ comes again. In the meantime, Christmas should again remind us of the love of God and the salvation of Christ, the two greatest gifts which were ever given to anyone in the history of the universe. They were given by God to usthat is why we have Christmas!