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The Noel Mystery


Once a year we celebrate a festivity called Christmas

There are many elements in this gaiety known as Christmas
‘Tis the season of giving and receiving
‘Tis a musical of carols and bells
‘Tis a time of miracles and stories
‘Tis the reality of coldness and whiteness

One can find other items:
hot chocolate and marshmallows
snowballs and sleigh rides
hard hearts melting under the gentle touch of love

someone presenting Dickens’ A Christmas Carol
church chimes welcoming the good news of salvation
church choirs singing the songs of redemption
children’s faces radiated with the joy of surprise
parents illuminated with the satisfaction that giving brings

All of these are a part of that occasion called Christmas

Yet to end here is to miss the integral piece that lies at the heart of that activity known as Christmas

For you see, Christmas has mystery
We do not refer to the legends of Saint Nicholas
his snow creatures that fly through the night

We do not even refer to the snowflake on the tip of the pine
as it catches the light and reflects it in many directions
Trees – those symbols of strength and immortality –
Decorations – the creative wonders of man’s imagination are not the mystery
Lights – the various shades and tints that blink are the man-made stars of delight

Yet these are not the mystery.

What is the mystery?
Angelic cantors over the pastures of Israel singing to shepherds
A new star beaming with renewed hope for Magi seeking the way
A newborn infant lying in a stable of hay surrounded by animals

Wonders of wonders God becomes one with us that we through Him
might grasp the light of eternity that fades not away in the dim shadows of night.
Mystery – that’s the meaning and reality of Christmas…


G.D. Williams has worked in Adventist higher education for 30+ years and is happily counting down to retirement. His other pursuits include photography, genealogy, collecting antique books, and working on his old farmhouse. This poem was written on December 19, 1980 for the Christmas program at the Frankford SDA Church in Frankford, Kentucky, and is reprinted here with permission from the author.

Photo Credit: Boggs


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