As the jingle goes… it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The Christmas adverts are now on TV, Christmas lights are up in the centre of Belfast and the Christmas trees are starting to appear now too. Mind you, I did hear that the first Christmas tree to appear in Belfast was spotted at the end of October!
This month I want to look at the "magic" of Christmas…
Let me quote a Northern Ireland native, John Lennox, now Professor of Mathematics in Oxford University…
Christmas is real magic - not the magic of wizards, wands and wishes, not the stage-magic of illusion, but the poetic magic that derives from supernatural reality.
What could be more awe-inspiring and worthy of celebration than that unique turning point in history when supernature invaded nature, the Creator entered his creation, the Word became flesh, God became man?
What story could be more suitable to tell to every generation of children? Magic, because it's true.
Do you remember how magical Christmas was when you were a child?
Do you remember that intense excitement as the advent calendar counted down the "sleeps till Christmas"?
Do you remember how you couldn't sleep on Christmas Eve?
Do you remember thinking, early on Christmas day morning, that your parents weren't as excited as you reckoned they really should be?
Then suddenly the magic of Christmas took a dramatic nosedive when you discovered the truth. You still got the presents ok but it just wasn't the same anymore. The magic was gone.
The make-believe kiddie magic of Santa Claus may be gone but if you are a Christian, you will know the real magic of Christmas.
This true magic is that an eternal, supernatural, perfectly holy God would invade our physical, corrupt, lowly, sinful, lonely world to offer salvation to His errant creatures. I say 'invade' but there were no armies or throngs of angels involved - no, only a new-born baby boy. A baby boy lying in a cattle shed somewhere in Bethlehem town, Judea.
The true magic of Christmas is that God would stoop so low to reach out to every one of us. God knew from the foundation of the world that He would have to sacrifice His Son to save humankind. He knew that Jesus would have to "put on flesh", enter our world and take the punishment due to all of us because of our sinful natures.
Jesus took on that role and fulfilled it perfectly. He suffered and died for you and me. And not one iota of this story has been fabricated. It was foretold extensively in the Old Testament and has been accurately preserved in the Scriptures over the millennia.
Society is becoming increasingly secular. It has lost its way. Nothing is magical anymore. Christmas may be getting earlier and earlier each year but the true message of Christmas gets fainter and fainter!
This Christmas our prayer is that we would all know the "Reason for the season"
From heaven you came helpless babe
Entered our world, your glory veiled
Not to be served but to serve
And give Your life that we might live
This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Happy Christmas and a peaceful new year from all at 'the Grove'
(All Bible quotations are from the KJV)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!