The wonder of it all
The people who actually witnessed the miracles related to the birth of Jesus must have been overwhelmed by a sense of wonder. To even imagine such a display of God's handiwork seems so remote for secular people two millennia later. The reality is, however, more factual for us today than for them back in first century Judea. We have God's Word as a sure verification. They could just wonder.
To balance the wonder of it all with what we are taught in Scripture is one of the things about Christmas. Our imaginations are often stretched to comprehend the miracle of the star, the heavenly hosts declaring His glory, the magi traveling from distant places, the worship of the Christ-child, and Mary treasuring those things in her heart. Our songs and rituals seek to re-capture the wonder of it all so that humans throughout history could experience the miraculous nature of the whole thing. In some small way our desire to imagine those events may has introduced a subtle distance from the reality of them. Think about it. How many of us have factored the wonder of it all into our daily life of faith. There it is, the Word God gave us to preserve what actually occurred in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and promised return of Jesus. Here we are today asking "what would Jesus do?" as if everything about his life was a matter of wondering. No, the wonder of it all is that he did it and gave us a living example, concrete truth to raise in us another question indeed. What did Jesus do? That is the wonder of it all.
Christmas celebrates the Incarnation. As a result we don't have to wonder about the events surrounding his birth or any of his life for that matter. That isn't to harden us to the miracles that make us stand in awe of God or the truth of God taking on human flesh. It's true, there are many things about his life we don't know. But, what was revealed isn't a matter of guesswork or conjecture. God gave it to us through those He inspired to record his life and teachings so that by faith we are invited into a personal relationship with him. The awe and reverence, the wonder of it all, should move us beyond questions and speculation to acceptance, total surrender, and obedience. We can wonder about the little drummer boy, whether or not there were three wise men, or fill in some of our blanks with contrived answers to the mysteries of his life. But, as Peter reminds us, "And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
Christmas is the declaration that God has provided a way for sinful humans to be
"transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18). That's certainly a miracle hidden in the ways of God most of us cannot comprehend, God's ways and our ways being what they are. As an article of faith, however, we know it is true and therefore must not raise speculation about it. It is what should define us, in the wonder of it all.
Perhaps lowering the speculation about the wonder of it all and clearly identifying the miraculous truth of it should be our goal. John didn't record the details of his birth so we could grasp the truth that " ...the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
it's Christmas and several traditions collide in our celebration of it. It is the biblical record, nonetheless, that should be our focal point. We know what happened and the wonder of it all isn't a bunch of question marks but rather an exclamation point in human history.
God the Son took on human flesh. That is the wonder of it all.