Only half the story

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How many of us have read only half a book or sat through the first half of a film before giving up or listened to only half a story?

If we have, we will never know the outcome, the twists and turns of the story-line, the surprises in store.

Is justice done? Does true love win through? Does the baddie get his (or her) just deserts? Christmas is only half the story.

Yet its meaning is critical to our understanding of who we are and where our world is going.

If we believe that “God became man in Palestine” (Betjeman), then we may come to realise that God speaks to us in a new way. He is the God who works from inside out, taking our humanity and transforming it.

Jesus is the person who embodies a nature that radiates the Spirit of God. Our Christmas Carols eloquently tell of this astounding truth.

It is worth all our celebrations. Jesus is like us so that we can, by God’s grace, become like him.

And the rest of the story?

The narrative does not end around the New Year. The proof of God’s undying, patient love for fallen humanity can only be fully understood in the light of the Cross.

There God’s greatest work found fulfilment. But that’s the hard part.

The warm glow of Christmas is a distant memory on the brutal hill of Calvary. An enigma? A scandal? Think of Nelson Mandela to realise the cost of God’s creative and redeeming love.

That’s the whole story.

A blessed Christmas to you all