According to Garbage Magazine (yes, there is one!), in the 1989 Christmas season Americans used 16,826,362 packages of tags and bows, and 28,497,464 rolls and sheets of wrapping paper. That's a lot of effort and expense to prevent people figuring out what the gift is that they are being given.

When Jesus was born, it was a different kind of wrapping. Old cloths and a used manger. More like recycling newspapers than shiny sheets of glistening paper. The result was the same: nobody had any idea what gift was being given.

As we saw last time, the wonder of Christmas is not that nobody saw that the king was born; the miracle in the carefully orchestrated circumstances is that anybody saw that the king was born. It required supernatural revelation. It still does.

Take the so-called Wise Men, for example. God went to a lot of trouble to make sure they saw the newborn king. He hung a star in the sky specially for them. It must have been hanging there for weeks if not months. On one level it was there for any Tom, Dick or Harry to see; but only Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar (or whoever the wise men were) saw it. Nobody else seems to have noticed.

The corny bumper sticker says "Wise men still seek him." Pithy, but misleading. The Bible actually says "No one seeks for God" (Romans 3:11). The Christmas story is not about the supposed wisdom of men who managed to figure it out by their careful analysis of the night sky, matched with a dogged persistence to take the uncomfortable seats on the camel train to Bethlehem. The archetypal seers and seekers. No! It's about the need for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of people to see what nobody else can see, and to put into the hearts of the most unlikely men a desire to seek the one that nobody else is interested in.

How many millions of people will look with wonder at billions of lights this Christmas season and yet not see the Light? As for the shepherds, it took a light show of angelic proportions to catch their eye and set them off  on a journey to seek. Finally after years of minding their sheep, minding their own business, they saw and sought. They understood what was happening. They knew they were not the brightest bulbs in the string of lights on the tree. They had no illusions about being wise men seeking. Notice their realistic and honest words:
Let us go over to Bethlehem and see the thing that... the Lord has made known to us (Luke 2:15).

Christmas is about the Son of God who came and the Spirit of God who still comes. Incarnation and illumination. A Sight to see and the sight to see it with.   

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