Soon after Jesus’ birth, three wise men came from the east, bearing extravagant gifts of great value for the prophesied King: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
Shepherds came to worship the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
Heavenly hosts of angels praised him from on high, prophesying peace for humankind, for in him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Saint Paul wrote, “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV).
Jesus’ birth was a mystery. Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, swaddled in a manger. Heavenly hosts praised him, but few witnessed his arrival.
The first time the word “mystery” is mentioned in scripture is in the New Testament in Matthew 13:11, when Jesus said to his disciples, “...Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven...”
Matthew 3:2 tells us that, “… John the Baptizer appeared in the desert of Judea. His message was, “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near” (GW).
Later, in Luke 17:20-22, The Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom would come. He answered them, “People can’t observe the coming of God’s kingdom. They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you” (GW).
Jesus said that it is given to us as followers of Christ to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and that the kingdom of God is within us. Paul wrote that God’s mysteries of wisdom and knowledge are treasures hidden in Jesus, and that the mystery of God is that we will not all sleep but be raised to eternal life.
The raising of the dead that Paul referred to in writing to the church he had planted in Corinth foretold an event yet to occur. But there is another mystery, hidden in Christ Jesus, that is working in us right now. It is the miracle of salvation.
It is only through Jesus Christ - sweet baby Jesus, whose birth has been celebrated for two thousand years - that the miracle of salvation can occur. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he immediately comes to dwell inside our hearts forever; our sins are purged, and all the treasures of heaven become our inheritance.
God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life (John 3:16 GW).
…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3 ESV).
May our hearts rejoice in this Christmas season being knit together with him in love, beholding the mystery of God’s glorious gifts, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.