Advent, Christmas, Jesus, miracle, mystery, magic, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

The Magic of Christmas: Remembering the Miracle All Year Long

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. 



I know it sounds a little funny reading a Christmas after Christmas. Many people have put Christmas behind them. The tree and lights are stored away; the stockings are no longer hung. The Christmas cookies and leftovers have long disappeared and all the candy canes are on clearance.

The year is closing out, and now our minds are set on the new year, new beginnings, improving our lives and trying new things. We set lofty goals and resolutions as we send our kids back to school for a new semester (some with new shoes). The grocery store aisles are packed with red and pink hearts and even St. Patrick’s Day decor. The radio stations are back to playing their “normal” songs. The Baby in the manger lays forgotten in a closet until next year.

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #magic #mystery #miracle

Lasting Magic

Yet we don’t have to forget. What if Christmas kept going all year round? I’m not talking about the stress of Christmas – the shopping, wrapping, baking, and elf-hiding. It’s the magic, the mystery and the wonder that lasts through January, February and all year long.

I want to focus on a unique aspect of the Christmas Story, the Wise Men also called “Magi.” Who were these mysterious foreigners, and how did a single star lead them to Jesus?

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

Matthew 2:1-2, NIV

The Wise Men were magicians, sorcerers, and foreigners from the East. We know that they did not previously know or worship God. Yet, they came to Jesus.

They came to see The One whose power and majesty far outweighed any wisdom or magic trick they could concoct. They knew He was special, and they knew He was worth their time. These foreign magicians knew He was God Eternal, the Everlasting King.

The Wise Men saw all of this in a single star, which led them to bow before a tiny little Baby.

Lasting Mystery

Matthew, Jesus’ disciple and author of this book, originally wrote to a Jewish audience. He was very intentional on multiple occasions to demonstrate how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. 

In Jewish times, people who were Gentile (foreigner or non-Jews) were considered unclean and unholy. Why would Matthew make sure to document to a primarily Jewish audience, that these non-believers from another land came to worship Jesus?

And better yet, why would God call these men from far away when they were not His people? Why did foreign magicians have such a crucial role in the Christmas story?

God does not think the way we think. Or even the way we want Him to. God caused Gentile men, who did not know Him, to travel to the country of Israel, to the rundown town of Bethlehem in order to worship Him, as a baby.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:9, NIV

Lasting Majesty

Another significant person in the Christmas account actually lived 700 years before Jesus was even born: Isaiah. Isaiah was a prophet of God to the people of Judah during the reigns of four different Jewish kings. In Isaiah 6, we read about an incredible encounter Isaiah has with Jesus on the throne.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.’

Isaiah 6:1-3, NIV

Isaiah later gets the famous message that we hear at every Christmas pageant and see on many Christmas cards.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, NIV

Isaiah saw the majesty of the Lord, both in His heavenly form on His throne, and in His human form, as a baby. Both are majestic, and both are holy.

As we look at the Baby in the manger, we can remember that God chose the unlikely foreigners to lead the way in worship. We can stare at the mystery and magic of His birth and remember that God’s ways are higher than our own. Even when we read Matthew’s recount of the story or Isaiah’s prophetic words, we rejoice, that the grace of God cuts through cultural barriers, and systems.

Lasting Trust

Most of us do not feel like Wise Men, but we might feel like outsiders. We can trust, that the Light of God will lead us to Jesus, no matter where we have come from.

We can trust that He is worthy of our time, worthy to be worshiped, no matter what the world looks like around us.

When we see that little Baby in the manger and when God’s ways don’t make sense, we can rejoice with the angels. We can declare, “Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty,” because that is who He is.

Christmas does not end on December 26. The magic of Christmas, the miracle and mystery of Jesus can be celebrated every day, all year long. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #magic #mystery #miracle

unsplash-logoNathan Anderson
fear, faith, trust, mystery, faithful, unknown, safety, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Walking in Mystery: The Holiness and Fear in Not Knowing

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others.



The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in The Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

Literature

I love to read novels. All the major bookstores have long discovered that Dodie Smith is a sucker for books. They send me ads and coupons accordingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother taking my brother and me to the library.

She also loved to read. She loved it enough to walk long city blocks with two young children to and from the local library so that we, too, would have the opportunity to enter the adventurous, mysterious world of books.

In the past, I read mostly literature and women’s literature, but for some reason, I’m tired of those. Many became too politically correct for me, I think. For several years now, I can lose myself for hours in a murder mystery.

Like my dad before me, I usually wait to read until an hour or so before bed; otherwise, I would never accomplish anything else! The nuances of discovering ‘who done it’ usually captures my mind rather quickly. If the plot moves too slowly or the main character isn’t likable, I move on to another book. Life is too short to stick with a boring book!

Mystery

Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives…and over everything and have it all at our disposal, (Bonhoeffer).

I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?

Yet, our God is and has always been, a God of mystery.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

Daniel 2:28, ESV

»«

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7 NIV

»«

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32, ESV

Misty Fog

In Bible days, it was unfathomable to live without certainty. The people of God were surrounded by this God who spoke from a cloud of glory or from the mouth of a donkey and raised people from the dead. But they never expected to understand it; the mystery was hidden from them. They were not given eyes to see…as we have been.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Ephesians 3:4-5, NIV (emphasis added)

»«

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Romans 16:25, NKJV (emphasis added)

Yet, Jesus came on the scene and told His disciples:

…Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 13:11, NKJV

God, through His Son and His Holy Spirit, graciously…magnanimously opened our blinded eyes and allowed us to see through the mist, the fog, the cloud and behold His mystery!

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27, NIV

Walking in Mystery

Hallelujah!

On one hand, mystery has been revealed to us – the mystery of the gospel, the greatest mystery of all. On the other hand, each day God invites us to walk in mystery with Him, in faithful not-knowing, resting securely within the secret place of the Most High. However, He never forces our hand into His.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss…every day – during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. In some situations, it can feel more comfortable or expedient. In reality, despite what we profess, we’re expressing that we prefer a calculated life, and perhaps a god we can tame or even control.

I’d never call Him a tame God, but the God of mystery is always, always safe.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. Click To Tweet

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

unsplash-logoEvie S.
mystery, unknown, safety, faithful, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Mystery: The Holiness and Fear Surrounding Not Knowing

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others.



The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in The Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Literature

I love to read novels. All the major bookstores have long discovered that Dodie Smith is a sucker for books. They send me ads and coupons accordingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother taking my brother and me to the library.

She also loved to read. She loved it enough to walk long city blocks with two young children to and from the local library so that we, too, would have the opportunity to enter the adventurous, mysterious world of books.

In the past, I read mostly literature and women’s literature, but for some reason, I’m tired of those. Many became too politically correct for me, I think. For several years now, I can lose myself for hours in a murder mystery.

Like my dad before me, I usually wait to read until an hour or so before bed; otherwise, I would never accomplish anything else! The nuances of discovering ‘who done it’ usually captures my mind rather quickly. If the plot moves too slowly or the main character isn’t likable, I move on to another book. Life is too short to stick with a boring book!

Mystery

Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives…and over everything and have it all at our disposal, (Bonhoeffer).

I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?

Yet, our God is and has always been, a God of mystery.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

Daniel 2:28, ESV

»«

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7 NIV

»«

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32, ESV

Misty Fog

In Bible days, it was unfathomable to live without certainty. The people of God were surrounded by this God who spoke from a cloud of glory or from the mouth of a donkey and raised people from the dead. But they never expected to understand it; the mystery was hidden from them. They were not given eyes to see…as we have been.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Ephesians 3:4-5, NIV (emphasis added)

»«

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Romans 16:25, NKJV (emphasis added)

Yet, Jesus came on the scene and told His disciples:

…Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 13:11, NKJV

God, through His Son and His Holy Spirit, graciously…magnanimously opened our blinded eyes and allowed us to see through the mist, the fog, the cloud and behold His mystery!

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27, NIV

Secret Unknown

Hallelujah!

On one hand, mystery has been revealed to us – the mystery of the gospel, the greatest mystery of all. On the other hand, each day God invites us to walk with Him in mystery, in faithful not-knowing, resting securely within the secret place of the Most High. However, He never forces our hand into His.

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss…every day – during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. In some situations, it can feel more comfortable or expedient. In reality, despite what we profess, we’re expressing that we prefer a calculated life, and perhaps a god we can tame or even control.

I’d never call Him a tame God, but the God of mystery is always, always safe.

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. Click To Tweet

Walking with mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Omer Salom