Stop and think for a moment. What were your Christmases like when you were little? As you reflect, can you think of any times you could describe as being a magical Christmas miracle?
My younger sister and I grew up reading The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem tells of the visit of St Nicholas, who lands his reindeer-drawn sleigh on top of an unsuspecting house, and zips down the chimney with a bag of toys on his back.
Maybe you know it too. The poem begins like this:
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.
Such a Magical Christmas Story
That story was one of the very exciting things about our lead-up to Christmas. Because every year, as we anticipated the arrival of our extraordinary visitor, our mother found our precious book in the boxes of Christmas things. All the decorations were all stashed away in a cupboard, ready to bring out in December. And we relished reading the entire poem together, with its cheeky illustrations and the poem’s descriptions of old St Nick:
His eyes–how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
In anticipation of the arrival of our guest, we made special food for him and his animals. Miraculously, he would come down our sooty chimney, and we woke up excitedly on Christmas morning to discover presents galore at the ends of our beds. It really was a magical Christmas miracle.
Gifts tumbled out, like new pencils, a beach ball, special clothing, and the ultimate treat, a white chocolate frog. So funny the things you treasure as a kid!
Sunny Aussie Christmas Days
There’s so much detail I remember about those magical Christmas days. It was a feast for my senses.
Early in December, Dad would arrive home one day with a beautiful, fragrant Christmas tree. We decorated it, it’s spicy scent wafting through the house for weeks. Also, our house started looking very festive as we strung up the pretty Christmas cards, which arrived daily in our mailbox.
On Christmas Day, we’d gather with my cousins at one of the aunt’s houses, and sing our fave Christmas carols around the piano, complete with spine-tingling harmonies. As we ate our Christmas dinner, we told the silly Christmas jokes from our bonbons. I always ate too much. And then gazed longingly at the desserts, wondering if I dared eat just one more piece of my aunt’s mouth-watering lemon cheesecake. Then finally, playing cricket with all my cousins in the backyard heat, after our huge Christmas meal.
They are all such treasured memories of our Aussie Christmas. They feature unique family moments, with strong emotive overtones which I can remember in a heartbeat.
It was quite a few years before I worked out the miracle of Santa Claus arriving on our rooftop with reindeer and sleigh, was all smoke and mirrors. It happened when my worn out mother arrived home, one over-hot Melbourne summer’s day, with lots of packages.
Amazingly, some of those things were at the end of my bed on Christmas morning! But once I knew, I just played along. It was fun, and I loved the magic of it.
However, there’s a Christmas miracle which is true and trustworthy. It’s the miracle of the visitation of another out-of-this world character, but this one isn’t a deception.
Instead, it’s a reality.
The Magical Christmas Miracle
As well as the tale of good old St Nick, I grew up hearing these words every Christmas:
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
These are words, recorded in the Bible, about the arrival of another very special person. They are familiar words, which we often romanticize with scenes of pretty, snow-covered stables bathed in heavenly light. But mulling over it now as an adult, I think it must have been a very tough week for young Mary [listen to the podcast]. It too was a feast for her senses, but in another way altogether.
Read this next part of the story:
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Overwhelming smells and noises, unique family moments, and emotive overtones, all feature in this story too. Yes, it’s very human and feels very real.
And it’s nothing like the magic of St Nicholas.
It’s a Crazy Christmas Miracle
The difference is, this was a visitor performing the biggest miracle of all. God, Creator of heaven and earth, taking on human form, and entering his own creation. Who would have thought? The idea is just crazy!
He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himselfPhilippians 2:7-8
Which painter would choose to jump into his painting and participate in a two-dimensional world, limited to a moment in time, when he or she is free not to live with those limitations? Would you do that?
Or, Eric Nielsen explains it this way:
“Imagine for a moment if the writer of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, actually entered the story he wrote and became a character who bore the suffering and broken conditions of the people? What marvel and awe would the characters in the story feel in experiencing such amazing grace by the story teller in rescuing them from their brokenness and the consequences of the dishonor to him. What have they done to deserve this from the storyteller?”(How does Christmas change my life?
Someone else had a go at explaining God’s magical Christmas miracle like this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.John 1: 1-3, 14 (Italics mine)
Why God Did It
God performed a magical Christmas miracle when he entered our 3-D world. As well, he limited himself to linear time, by arriving as a baby. And he did it because he loves us, his creations, so much. He wanted to changed our lives, not just for a short Christmas season, but for life. He came to jheal the brokenhearted and to set the captive free. (Luke 4: 18, 19)
Do you feel brokenhearted sometimes? Or imprisoned, needing to be set free? Many mothers do. A mother;s life can be full of brokenheartedness and feeling trapped. It;s for those moments that Jesus came. And he did it for you.
I mean, that really is a life-changing magical Christmas miracle.
Have you ever thought about how the birth of Jesus so long ago makes a difference to your life in the here and now? It truly is a magical Christmas miracle. I’d love to know your thoughts on this! Let me know in the Comments box, below.