Quick, tell me your favorite miracle.
Isn’t easy, is it? The Bible is full of them, after all—those sixty-six books of God’s revelation. It is history and theology, philosophy and poetry. From a strictly literary perspective, it’s some of the finest ever produced. And yet the Bible is especially a long collection of miracles, one strung after the other, spanning thousands of years.
So, which is your favorite?
Creation itself, perhaps. The parting of the Red Sea. Jesus feeding the five thousand. Lazarus raised.
Those are only a few, of course. The miracle that came to my mind was Christ’s first (or first recorded, at any rate), while attending a wedding at Cana. It isn’t my personal favorite, though I’ll say His turning water into wine holds a certain significance to me. I’ve felt felt that particular miracle was a bit different than all the others that came after. To me, this one was simply a son wanting to do something for his mother. There is a deep sense of humanity in that small but great act.
Here’s the thing about that miracle: it wasn’t simply that water was changed to wine, it was that something less was made into something more. That seems the general rule. So far as I can tell, miracles follow that pattern of less to greater.
Consider the examples I mentioned earlier. For all its mystery and grandeur, the miracle of creation can be boiled down to the “less” of nothing being transformed into the “more” of everything.
The parting of the Red Sea? Danger to safety.
It was hunger changed to fullness when Christ fed the five thousand.
It was death made into life when Lazarus walked out of his tomb.
That’s the way all miracles are. All but one.
We celebrate this time of year because it commemorates the birth of Christ. It is, to every Christian, a miracle. Think of that miracle in the most rational of terms—Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How—and you’ll find that within that miracle are many more.
Who was born? The Savior of the world.
What happened? An angel appeared to a group of shepherds, some of the poorest people in the world, who became the first witnesses of what had just occurred.
When? According to Paul, God sent forth his son “in the fullness of time.” A wonderful phrase, that. Meaning that it happened just when God meant it to happen, just as with all things.
Where? Bethlehem, so fulfilling a prophecy made centuries before.
Why? So death could become for us not an end, but a door.
How did all of this happen? I suppose it could only be best described as the miracle of miracles. Because in all the other times before and all the times since, something less was made more. But in this instance, something more was made less. God Himself became man. The all-powerful was changed to pink-skinned and frail.
Amazing, isn’t it? And yet I can think of no truer expression of love than that of a God so big squeezing Himself into a world so small. Of living alongside us and understanding the joys and pains of our short existence. Of dying so that we all may live.
That, friend, is why the birth of Christ is my favorite miracle.
And that is how I can wish you the most happiest of Christmases.