Christmas Is a Mystery

Michael Douglas | December 22, 2016

The familiar cues that come with Advent season are everywhere—the sounds of Christmas music, the smells of evergreen trees and cinnamon, and the sights of decorations that seem to appear earlier and earlier each year. Such familiarity and nostalgia usually make Christmas “the most wonderful time of the year.”

For many, though, this season is a painful reminder of good times that once were. Maybe this year there will be an empty seat at the table, and all we can think of is the deep grief we are about to experience again. This tension of joy and pain may bring more confusion and hurt than we can bear.

Even the Advent story itself comes with its own mystery.

Born of a Virgin

Take the virgin birth. This part of the story comes under intense scrutiny each year by skeptics. Luke records that an angel appeared to a young virgin named Mary and told her she would become pregnant—by the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but also her child would be the Son of God, a king for David’s throne. Certainly she remembered the promise that a virgin would give birth to a son (Isa. 7:14), but it seemed too good to be…

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