‘Magical,’ the ‘magic of Christmas,’ are words and phrases that are used to describe Christmas. Strange really that a world that wants to get rid of God wants to retain the idea of something being ‘other,’ something being magical. And it doesn’t just crop up at Christmas, there’s a fascination for it all year round, something that’s beyond the ordinary, something that adds a bit of spark to life, something other than us. It likes we want to, need to, were made to, believe in something more.
Of course the Christmas story is anything but magical – supernatural, yes, but not magical. Magic involves slight of hand, fairy stories, unreality, spells and potions, hob goblins and all, but this, well it’s the greatest true story ever told, and it’s rooted in our world, the real world, a broken, turbulent and unkind world, where politics and power were as much the order of the day as they are today, and if you didn’t have them you were a nobody, a no-chancer.
It’s a world full of lost people, broken people, people with broken relationships, lost dreams, lost hopes, lost peace – Lost.
This is the context of the Christmas story. It’s not the nice pictures on Christmas cards of snow and lights and jingle bells, or that of sentimental nativity performances. There are no fuzzy edges around it and subtle lighting that makes it feel good and heart warming. It’s the raw world.
It’s not some splendid religious building, nor a hospital bed, or a well prepared at home birth. It’s the raw world.
God didn’t wait for it to get better, it couldn’t. He came.
The wonder and glory of the story of the Bible is that God doesn’t stay aloof from the world and say ‘I daren’t go there, it’s too bad, too sinful…’ but rather he comes right into the heart of it, the mess, the brokenness, the sin.
And he still does.
And he wants us, his people to do the same.
We can’t wait for the right conditions, the right atmosphere, the right circumstances, we must go and share this story, this God-in-our-life story, who came to rescue us in real human flesh.
What a God. What a salvation.
Not magic or magical, but real and powerful and life changing and hope giving. Oh yes! Bring it on.