The Secret Revealed
I suspect quite a few of you like mysteries - in novels, in movies, and as television shows. I've often wondered why mysteries are so popular - I don't care for them so much myself and they take up much too much shelf space in public libraries as to suit my taste in reading. But I know that I'm in the minority - people love mysteries.
But not so much with Christmas. Most people want a mystery-free Christmas. They've got Christmas all figured out - they've got Santa and elves, the baby Jesus in the manger, mistletoe, "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World" all put together in a simple and easy to understand arrangement of what many call a "happy holiday". There little, if any, mystery here.
It's this lack of mystery that gives the clue to tip us off that much of what goes by the name of Christmas has little, if anything, to do with how the Bible thinks about Christmas.
The Bible never uses the word "Christmas" and it took several centuries before Christians thought they should observe it as a holy day. But, of course, the Bible says a lot about Jesus' coming into the world and what his coming means for all of us.
And when the Bible tells us about Jesus' coming to us the Bible describes his entry into the world as quite mysterious
- not in the sense of a mystery novel where at the end the detective solves the puzzle posed by circumstances -
but mystery is the true sense of mystery - something that isn't simple, isn't solved, isn't settled by our human understanding.
That's why the stories of Jesus' birth are full of angels and dreams and stars and miracle.
In the passage of Scripture just read the Apostle Paul specifically calls the Gospel of Christ - the good news of his coming, his life, his death, his resurrection, -- a mystery:
(Romans 16:25 NRSV) "Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the ...
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