Do any of you find Christmas paradoxical at some levels? The Christian community often touts we should not focus on material things. However, in some ways, I believe God requires us to do exactly that or at least gives us room to do so.

God has created a magnificent physical world for us to ponder and enjoy. God uses his material things to point us to him. Here are just a few examples:
• God used only four different molecules to create seven billion unique people.
• If you unraveled all the DNA in the average human body and laid it end to end, it would go back and forth from the sun 61 times or wrap around the Earth 2.5 million times.
• Suppose we could buy the energy the sun gives off for a period of twenty-four hours for one-fourth cent per kilowatt-hour. To pay for this energy in silver dollars would require enough money to cover the United States four miles deep.
• God required the Israelites to build a beautiful tabernacle and temple with lamp stands of gold, acacia tables, and robes woven from blue and purple yarns. God wanted us to experience the beautiful to remind us of him.

Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Through God’s created order of the physical world we experience, understand, and come to know Him in His fullness. Of course, that does not mean we should worship the material things, but instead use it as an opportunity to know him better.

We ought not be limited to worshiping God at Christmas through prayer, songs, and Scripture reading—but also through enjoyment of His earthly gifts. At Christmas, we can enjoy the glistening white of snow, the curious texture of eggnog, the refracted light on tinsel, and the warmth of slippers.

Christmas is the time God became material. He became incarnate (flesh). He dwelt among us. We can proclaim the incarnation of Jesus in all its implications—material ones included. Jesus came as the salvation of our souls and our bodies—and proper celebration of the Incarnation will require both.

Dan Kuiper
Head of School