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December 21, 2013

The Mystery That Is Christmas


So there at the manger, in the people around Jesus, we have Faith, Wisdom, Good Counsel and Purity, all merging into one event of salvation (meaning “saving health”). True wisdom is faith, and faith is true wisdom. Wisdom is purity, and purity is good counsel. And everything leads to the Christ who is all of this.

We see all that in the Nativity scene, and that is the meaning of Christmas, the essence of God’s gifts to us, all of which add up to Love. And the gifts we bring, from all our different backgrounds, merge into one major gift ….. into the gift of Christ.

What else do we see through the Nativity scene? We see that Christ is Infinite New Life given. We see that the love of God abounds with no let up. Medieval theologians said, without any self-importance, that the goal of a Christian life is to give birth to this child, and for each of us individually to do this, in ourselves. Letting this child be born in our own lives is the same as inheriting the Kingdom of God. It is simply a different way of saying it, another way of saying “born again.” What we see is that infinite reality always comes back to the advent of that child in the manger, and that child in us. And what about all of the animals in the stable area? What do we see in them? Do not the animals remind us that the whole creation groans while waiting for the salvation (the “saving health”) of God? Of course they do! All creatures are included in this!

And what else do we see? In this simple child-like scene around the manger there is a lot of heavy-duty theology being done. It really is big stuff, a microcosm of the whole message of God. It is so profound that we might have to ask the Child to explain all of it more thoroughly to those of us, like me, who have trouble seeing. Because it is through the eyes of the Christ that we are to see life clearly! And God has given us that Child! And God has also offered us the eyes to see with! What then do we see? We see God! And that’s when we have the very Merriest of Christmases. Because this glow and excitement of Christmas doesn’t wane and fade away a few days later! That is my prayer for you. Happy holidays to one and all!


The Rev. Richard G. Parker is a retired American Baptist & United Methodist minister, residing in Newburyport with his spouse, Karen. He is also the coordinator of this column and may be reached at

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