About a year and a half ago, I decided that I needed to start reading more classic fiction. It was a much needed break from the kind of books that I usually read. In this process, I discovered that one of my favorite authors is Ernest Hemingway. His stories are gritty, honest, and to the point. But one of the things that I love about his work the most is that the stories never resolve themselves. Every single one of his books that I have read does not have a “good ending.” I think that this is because Hemingway knew that there was tension between the things that happen in our lives and the way that our lives keep moving. Hemingway understood that there is mystery in our lives.
Scripture attests to the fact that there is mystery, not only in our lives, but in the main story that has defined our world; that humanity fell into sin, that God himself came to rescue humanity from that sin, and that now humanity waits for God to come a second time to finalize the victory over sin. Christmas is a time in which we celebrate that mystery. Christmas is the “good ending” of a Hemingway novel. It is the time in which we recognize that something earth-shattering has happened, that God himself has come to us as one of our own, but it’s also the realization that we live in between the two Advents. The story is still unresolved. And so, at Christmas, we ponder the mystery that Christ came to us in all humility (Phil. 2:5-11), but we also ponder the mystery that soon He will come to us in all power (I Thes. 4:16-17).
Christmas is a time in which we celebrate the mystery of the story that we are a part of, and it’s a beautiful, deep, live-giving story.