Dear friends in Christ,
So, what did you do last Sunday afternoon before the big Packers/Vikings football game? (I won’t talk about the game, of course, even though I know at least one family in our congregation is very happy over the final score!) I decided to use the afternoon to hang some Christmas lights on the trees in our front yard. I went to the store to buy some new sets, pre-tested them to make sure they worked, and carefully hung them on the tree. Then came the time to plug them into the extension cord to view all my hard work. And, wouldn’t you know it, half of one of the strings of new lights didn’t light. And, needless to say, that string was half-way up the tree. I shook the wire. No luck. I yelled “Come on. Work!” Nothing. So, I undid all the other strings down to that one, returned it to the store, got a replacement, and tried again.
The following day, Monday the 26th, I got back to my office a little after 1:30pm and saw an online news article from NASA to watch live the landing of the InSight Lander on the surface of Mars. Actually, it was a live feed of the control station in California. Six months and twenty-one days ago, InSight was lauched from earth to land on Mars. It traveled over 300 million miles and landed precisely where the scientists wanted it to land, not by remote control (Mars is too far away for that) but by pre-set computer programs. I watched in amazement that this room full of extremely intelligent people actually made this work. And besides the Lander itself, they also sent out two small trailing satellites which followed InSight all the way to Mars about a half-mile behind to send data back to earth. What man has learned to do is simply amazing!
After I watched the success of the NASA mission, I looked over at my tree in the front yard. Naturally I thought, “How can human beings figure out how to send a machine to Mars and have it land exactly where they want it but can’t figure out how to make a string of Christmas lights work for more than five minutes?” I guess some things will always be a mystery.
But all the most intelligent scientists in the world will never be able to prove the greatest mystery ever—that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. St. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:16, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” The incarnation of God the Son cannot be scientifically proven. It can only be believed or disbelieved. That God would come all the way from heaven, which is above and beyond the created universe, and appear on earth as a true human being, born of the virgin Mary, is simply amazing. And greater still is the reason He did it. He was born to save us from our sins and to give us the hope of everlasting life with Him in heaven. That is why we celebrate Christmas. God came into His own creation as one of His created beings to save it from the eternal death of sin. Man may know a lot of science and math, but the God who created it all still amazes us with His love.
In service to Him and you,