I will be honest with you. I am not one of those jaded, post-consumer minded anti-holiday bah-humbugs when it comes to Christmas. I love Christmas, hands down my favorite time of the year. Love it all: the lights, the music, the holiday movies and specials, the gifts, the parties and dinners. Yep, it’s all just great.
Some would say it is a magical time. I know what they mean, and agree with their sentiment, but I would say it differently, because I don’t traffic in magic. I would call it a miraculous time, a time for miracles.
Miracle is a Latin word that just means “wonderful sign” and, in a broad sense, anything could be interpreted as a miraculous thing when it is an unexpected thing that also seems a wonderful thing…when it feels wonderful.
But beyond feelings there are facts. Are miracles for real?
God created the universe, designed this world and setup the laws of nature. He loves us so he created order out of chaos. God sustains this creation and supports this order. Except…every once in a while he just takes the laws or nature or probability or physics and overturns them. And he does it to help us out, or get our attention, or move us to deeper faith and commitment, or just to help us understand more about his plan.
That’s what happened at Christmas. The first Christmas was a miracle. Actually a series of miracles. In the first and second chapters of their gospels both Matthew and Luke tell us the story, and it’s a story of miracles.
But here’s the thing about the Christmas story…not only does God keep sending miracles, the people we meet there keep expecting them:
- Joseph does the unusual, even strange things that the angel tells him to do because he’s expecting a miracle
- The shepherds risk their jobs and their flocks because they’re expecting a miracle
- The wise men undertake an expensive and dangerous journey, one that perhaps opened them up to criticism from their colleagues, because they were expecting a miracle
- Above all Mary risks her reputation, her future, even her life expecting a miracle.
Many of the people we meet in the Christmas story are all expecting miracles…and God keeps sending them.
Hmmm….maybe, these two things are not unrelated