The Christmas cure for a deadly mind virus

“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind,” writes Valentine Davies. But what does this frame of mind look like? The first important part, uniquely found at Christmas, is well-illustrated by what’s happened to me on more than one occasion: frantically searching for my sunglasses, only to find them on my head, or searching for my phone to check a date on my calendar, while holding it against my ear!

Every year, the Christian world celebrates three reality-altering moments: Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. Each of these moments solved a particular human predicament: Christmas dissolved the distance and separation between us and God; Easter resolved the problem of our sin; and Pentecost made short work of our lack of spiritual power. By these three acts, God not only transformed us spiritually but also reinstated our original calling – to walk with Him and to represent Him and His kingdom on the earth until His glory covers it, as the waters cover the sea. This all sounds very impressive on paper, but what are the practical, day-to-day implications of this truth in our lives?

Many people, including many Christians, often “feel far from God” and are consequently always searching for Him, longing and pleading for His attention, convinced that He is occupied somewhere far away and unavailable to communicate or answer prayers right now. Christmas forever lays this insidious mind virus of an absent God to rest, because with Christmas, we celebrate the God who became a man and dwelt among us, instantly collapsing all space and time between us and Him. For 2000 years there has been no separation or distance between us and Him – in Christ, you and God became one!

Paul describes it like this: ‘But the righteousness that is by faith says: “…Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart…”’ (Rom 10:6-8 NIV). You don’t have to go anywhere to come into God’s presence – no need to go on a pilgrimage, walk for hours around the Ka’ba in Mecca, climb up a mountain or crawl on your knees (sometimes for days), like the devotees of the Virgen de los Angeles (Virgin of the Angels) in Costa Rica, to eventually reach her 20-cm tall statue encased in a small golden shrine. Christmas teaches us that God is always with us, in us, closer to us than our very thoughts and breath! Think about that for a while.

Returning to the words of the analogy I started out with – stop searching for the phone against your ear or the sunglasses on your head. Instead, by faith in love, simply reach out and touch Him. God is so close to us that He can promise, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Isa 65:24 NIV). Paul also describes it well: “…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints … which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26, 27 NKJV). Hallelujah!

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