“‘It seems then,’ said Tirian … “that the Stable seen from within and the Stable seen from without are two different places.
”Yes,’ said the Lord Digory. ‘Its inside is bigger than its outside.
”Yes,’ said Queen Lucy. ‘In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'” The Last Battle
Last Christmas, I felt like a humbug. So … I wrote out the Christmas story to awaken Christmas in my heart. This Christmas, it has awakened. The weeks leading up to tonight have been filled with anticipation and a sense of the sacred, the hush, the awe of the birth of the LORD.
For many, Christmas is a time for family, for giving, for getting together, for spending time together.
All these things are true.
But there is more.
There are many religions with beautiful aspects to them, but call me biased, I find none so beautiful as mine. What religion rests its gigantic pillars upon a children’s story? What grander theological paradoxes exist than a king born in a stable? God as man? A savior who will save by dying? A kingdom of heaven set up here on earth?
If I were to choose a religion based solely on its literary merit, Christianity is a no-brainer. One baby in a manger and in Him exists a king, a servant, God, and man. The story of Jesus is foreshadowed in the story of Abraham, when God makes a covenant with him and does not seal it by meeting him in the middle, as was done in those days, but by walking all the way to Abraham. He was telling us thousands of years ago that He will do it all. It is told in the story of Joseph — as one who must suffer in enemy country to save his family. He was telling us He will suffer for us to be saved. It is told in the story of Moses — a leader who will lead us out of slavery. He was telling us He will set us free. Then, prophets prophesy the coming of a savior hundreds of years before. They tell about where He will be born, where He will live, that King Herod will slaughter children trying to kill Him, how Jesus will die, how the soldiers will divide His clothes and cast lots for them. Details are carefully laid out to create the suspense of the coming of a savior. And the story is told everywhere. Humble heroes. Sacrificial lambs. Paupers who become princes. Kings who are servants. Masked saviors. Unrecognized royalty. Deaths pregnant with victory. Seeds that fall to the ground in death, and then are resurrected. But none are so grand as this one — and whether it is told by Linus in Peanuts or read by a mother or a father at bedtime or shared in Sunday School or by a friend, this simple, sweet story of God incarnate, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, born in a stable is the wedge that divides the world. Those who can humble themselves and become a child and believe, will live. Those who try to take the miracle away, to diminish it, ignore it, rationalize it, scoff at it, will not.
Its simplicity is disarming.
Novelists couldn’t do it any better. And yet, this story is written by many authors and the story carefully intertwines without the authors discussing it or knowing each other or even living at the same time. The story spans centuries. And anyone with an open heart and a reasoning mind can see that there is an Author that must be at work.
Seek and you will find. Those who wish to disbelieve will inevitably find reasons to disbelieve. If you want a world without God, you’ll eventually get it.
I know I don’t. For there is no deeper joy than the birth of a baby. And a deeper joy is the birth of God in the heart.
I’ve never understood predestination. I’ve always argued for free will. But sometimes I wonder if He chose me rather than I chose Him? And of course, He did. But doesn’t He choose us all? Does any responsibility fall to us? Yet, I sometimes feel as if I had no choice, that I can’t leave Him, even if I wanted.
But who would want? Once one has tasted ambrosia, normal food and philosophies have no taste. And once the angels have heralded the birth of Christ in your heart, once the stars have sung the glorious Incarnation into your being, how can anyone leave? It is an eternal glory, transforming in its power. It is a miracle. The grand miracle was God becoming a baby. When it is birthed again in our hearts — each birth is another miracle and once again the angels sing and the stars lead us and the sky is filled.
Merry, merry Christmas to you all. With the angels, I say to you:
Peace on earth and goodwill to men!