The song ‘Miracle In The Town’ contains the lyrics:
‘Two thousand years ago,
In a town that we all know,
Underneath the brightest star,
People came from near and far.
Little did they realise
That right before their very eyes,
A miracle was happening in the town:
Astonishing, amazing miracle in the town.
Astonishing, amazing miracle in the town.
Born in a lowly stall,
Baby Jesus, here for all,
There upon the straw and hay,
Now we call it Christmas Day,
But the people there and then,
They never knew in Bethlehem,
A miracle was happening in the town.’ (‘Miracle In The Town’, Tom Kirkham & Matthew Crossey)
Tonight at our carol service, we explored the miracle of Christmas, commenting on the fact that God intervened in human history in miraculous ways (angels appearing to Zechariah, Mary and Joseph and then to shepherds, a star guiding wise men from the East, an immaculate conception and a Saviour born who was fully human and fully God.) Without God’s miraculous intervention, there would be no Christmas and no salvation. But at the same time, the paradox is that Jesus came as a lowly baby, born in less-than-perfect accommodation and relatively few people knew about His arrival. He was ‘in very nature God’, as Paul puts it (Phil 2:6), but He ‘did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.’ (Phil 2:6-7) The miracle is clothed in the mundane: contrary to what the carol says, Jesus did cry as a baby; He was just like us!
We too live in an imperfect world. Our Christmas comes with financial pressures and family fallouts, with ill health and problems. We find as we enter into the Christmas story each year that God truly is Immanuel, God with us. He is there is in the everyday and the mundane just as much as in the miraculous; He is there with us through thick and thin. We have good news of a miracle-working God, but we also have a God who knows what it is to be fully human and who, because He is sinless, is able to be a high priest and atoning sacrifice, bringing us back to God. (See Heb 2:18)
Christmas gives us the opportunity to embrace Jesus and to be part of the family of God who know and receive the astonishing, amazing miracle that happened that first Christmas. Don’t be like the majority who did not realise God was working in that town. Be like the shepherds and the wise men: come and worship Jesus and in your hearts set Him apart as Lord.