Christians awake, salute the happy morn
Wherein the Saviour of mankind was born
Rise to adore the mystery of love.
Which host of angels chanted from above
There is something of a mystery around the Christmas story. The mystery is not just that no-one is really sure whether Jesus was really born in a stable, about strange star or how many wise men there were. The mystery that surrounds the story is centred upon how God chooses to make himself known and the methods he uses to restore his relationship with the human race.
There is a real sense in which God is a mystery because he has been hidden from us. This is simply because he is God and we are human beings.
1 Corinthians 2:10 “For who among men knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
It is like our humanity is a curtain in front of our eyes and we cannot see through it.
The Biblical definition of mystery is "A divine, sacred secret that is hidden in the heart of God, and cannot be understood unless God chooses to reveal it to man."
The coming of Jesus into the world is a moment of revelation as dramatic as the opening of the curtains of a play, although it didn’t happen on the world stage but in the obscurity of a little town in the backwater of the Roman Empire.
Whilst the people belonging to the mystery religions believed that knowing God came about through unravelling complicated codes and philosophies, Paul had spent his whole life trying to understand and know God through the meticulously keeping of the rules of his religion and being zealous about keeping out anyone who held un-orthodox views. But he remained deeply unsatisfied with this and a real relationship with God eluded him.
It may be that the presence of mystery and ignorance of the ways of God in our understanding is down to the fact that we have allowed sin to blind us and we haven’t applied ourselves to the study of God’s word or spent enough time in the presence of Christ.
God has already revealed far much more of his nature than we have grasped and he is ready and waiting for us to ask, to seek and to knock on his door so that we might enter into more understanding.
However God’s love remains a mystery. He is not a scientific equation to be worked out; he is not a puzzle to unravel or a code to unlock. He is a person who illogically and unbelievably loves us so much that he is prepared to behave in the most unpredictable way.
Whilst it should be a comforting thing that there is a God who is bigger, wiser, more powerful and more loving than we are, most of the time human beings spent their time trying to make God fit their understanding, their plans and their thinking.Ephesus 6:19 “Pray that I will be given the message to speak that I might fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news.”
When we act in obedience and respond to the Spirit’s leading we so, often find that he has already gone before us. Ultimately a person must invite Jesus in. John’s gospel so clearly states, “To all who received him, he gave the right to become children of God.”
No one twisted God’s arm to send his son Jesus to the world. It’s not because he looked at us and was impressed with what great Christians we’d be. We didn’t deserve what God has given us. We didn’t deserve His mercy and kindness but he loved us anyway. God who’s entirely has chosen to enter into a relationship with us.
One preacher puts it like this. “This is an incredible mystery that the free potter would choose to have a relationship with the clay.”
Whenever humans encounter God, we’re going to encounter mystery. We will never become God’s peer. There comes a time when the only appropriate response to him and that is to worship.