How is the Christmas mystery affecting you this year?

Shivery air and a drizzle of heavy drops visit Dallas this Tuesday the 25th, quite unlike last week’s blue, dry warmth. Here the December weather arrives unpredictably – some years call for bundling, others are perfect for short sleeves and picnics in the park. Things change.

I sit in the early quiet, dark. As the rain falls faster, the narrative of Mary, Joseph, and their world-rattling babe – a narrative that I believe as truth – rises within. The Creator of all humbling himself into the form of his very own human creation, vulnerably born to make visible his invisible holy self. Serving his world to the point of total rejection and excruciating death, that all may be freed from the “badness” (the kid-comprehensible term my pastor used at yesterday’s family service) that blacks and blocks out God’s Light, that we may re-accept his intimate, undeserved embrace. And then, with hearts full of gratitude, we are sent to serve others and live his message of Love. Hallelujah.

Similar to Dallas’ fluctuating December weather, the way we each experience the message of Christmas is forever changing. Over the course of a year loved ones may betray, or leave, or suffer, or die – replacing the previous year’s holiday celebration with an aching grief and a desperate need for restored hope and joy. Depending on where we stand along life’s journey, our perspectives and focal points are altered.

MFrom where I am today, the baby and the traveling wisemen are at the forefront of my mind, probably because I’ve been cherishing time with my elder brother’s newborn son, and just yesterday I visited an exceptional museum made by highly intelligent men (and women). Somehow these two current events have brought the Christmas story to life in a fresh way this year.

Baby Jack, a.k.a. “Jack Bear”, once a precious preemie and now a tiny two-month-old, has helped make visible the invisible ancient birth of baby Jesus. He’s fragile and fully dependent. Needy with nothing to give and everything to receive, or at least it seems that way. At this thought, I wrestle with a phrase in Acts 17:24-25: 24:

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.

 For now, I leave my rational brain and let mystery be mystery. I do not know the answer.

Pair newborn Jack with the newly opened Perot Museum, which is filled fascinating facts about nature and science. With each passing exhibit my individual brain felt increasingly smaller and yet incredibly stimulated and inspired, reminding me how insignificant we humans seem amid this vast universe. Yet by faith I maintain that each individual person has significance beyond belief, each of us created by a personal God with intention and purpose. Mystery strikes again.

universeOne section of the museum was devoted to outerspace – planets, comets, moons, meteors, and many words I’ve never ever heard. The room was minor relative to the impressive four-level floor plan, but tremendous in its exploration of giant galaxies. It brought to mind the Christmas wisemen, three who studied the skies and riskily let a single, extra-shiny star lead them to Nazareth.

Where they bowed. Brains—astoundingly intelligent brains, perhaps quite like those who discovered and compiled the Perot museum’s countless facts—were lowered to the ground to worship a baby. A baby that perhaps looked and acted a lot like Jack. Fragile and fully dependent.

Mystery, once more. I bow my own little brain to the ground in thanksgiving. Thank you Jesus for coming then and coming now and promising to come again at your perfect time.

How is the Christmas mystery affecting you this year?