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SERMON: The Mystery of Christmas

“I believe! Help me with my doubts.”
Mark 9:24 (The Message)

A good mystery writer leaves the reader panting for more. Works of Dostoevsky, Christie, Sayers, Eco and others fly off library and bookstores shelves faster than they can be replaced. These writers have learned how to introduce and develop characters, plots, circumstances that draw us into worlds far different from our own. We enjoy imagining how we would act or react in similar situations.

The story of Christmas is one of three mysteries of the Christian faith that troubles many. The person and work of the Holy Spirit confounds our understanding. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is another. And it all seems to begin with the “beyond reason” circumstances that started nine months before the events of a starry night in Bethlehem.

Author Madeleine L’Engle writes that “Had Mary been filled with reason there’d have been no room for the child.”* God—being a God who created us as body, soul, mind and spirit—takes the risky step of asking us to trust Him in the midst of mystery. We cannot call upon facts of history to explain the conception of Jesus. Imagination often expressed in poetry may take us to the edge of understanding but leaves us still wondering.

The mystery of Christmas requires something we rational humans find most difficult: faith. Not some brain-numbing step into an abyss, but rather that which is described in the New Testament: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). This faith is based not on manufactured fact, but rather on active belief in the God who created, loves, sustains and desires intimate relationship with His children.

This God knows that as confusing as mysteries can be, there is a part deep within us that only be touched by the mystery of God Himself. And so, without knowing each detail of all God’s stories, I read on…panting for more.

Thank you, Father, for being greater than my mind yet for the way you stir my imagination as I choose to trust you.

*A Cry Like a Bell

by Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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