The Mystery of Christmas

From Paul Tripp Ministries

is a mystery
wrapped in a mystery.

How would a deeply unholy
be reconciled to a perfectly holy
Would his mercy
compromise his justice?
Would his justice
crush his mercy?

Holy and unholy:
the great drama of
the Christmas story.

In God’s redeeming
the mystery of the
reconciliation of
unholy ones to
the holy One
was solved by
the mystery of mysteries.
God would reconcile
unholy people to
through the grace of
the mystery of the
God-man, Jesus.

Impossible to fully
understand but
essential to believe.

Born to Mary,
the Son of Man, Son of God,
preexistent and self-sufficient,
infant and dependent,
Creator becomes
part of creation.
The one who breathed life into
breathes in earth’s air.
The one who created
willingly lays down his
The Judge comes to
bear our judgment.
The giver of life
will lose his life
so that unholy
can be reconciled to a
holy God.

Christmas is a mystery
wrapped in a mystery
and so we sing with the angels
the song that will last
“Glory to God in the Highest!”

The closer you get to your Lord, the more aware you should become of your unholiness. The grace of this Holy One doesn’t take dependent people and make them independent; instead, it takes independent people and produces in them a deeper and more willing dependency.

If we are called to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), our need for grace will never end.

Of course, you should be thankful for how far you have grown in grace. You should testify that areas of sin have been defeated in your life. You should celebrate that because of the zeal of God’s grace, you are not the person you once were.

But Christmas reminds us that we are miles and miles away from being holy in every way, all of the time. This Christmas, you should be more aware of your sins and shortcomings than when you confessed them for the first time.

Consider these words from the apostle Paul: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15–16).

The longer we live in the light of God’s holiness, the more we should become aware of the subtle, deceptive sins of the heart, the nagging idolatries, and the places where we lack godly character. As we walk with the Lord, we should become increasingly aware of the labyrinthine pathways of sin that course through every area of our lives.

You simply cannot stand before the searching light of the glory of God’s holiness with an open heart and walk away proud of yourself.

The longer this light shines on you, the louder your cry for grace grows. The longer you live in the presence of God’s holiness, the more you become aware of the depth and extent of your sin, the more you are dependent on God’s grace, and the more you are amazed by his patience.

You cannot stand before his holy throne and think you have arrived spiritually. And that is a good thing!

Silent Night, Holy Night

Lyrics by Joseph Mohr, 1818.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
’round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace,
sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar,
heav’nly hosts sing, “Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!”

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from Thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth!
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth!

Silent night! Holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing
“Alleluia” to our King:
“Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born.”

God bless,

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

1. Why is the fact that the God-man, Jesus Christ, came to earth and lived life as a human being such an amazing truth in history? And why do you think it’s simultaneously a mystery?

2. Why is holiness something that’s so important? Why is it something that we can never achieve on our own? If holiness is primary in our relationship with God, and we can never get to it ourselves, what should that tell us about our most important need in life? Why is our need in life good news, not bad news?

3. Why should you be more aware of your sins this year at Christmas than you were when you first confessed them? If you should be more aware of your sins the longer you walk with God, what sin might God be revealing to you this Christmas that he wants to free you from? Take some time to think through what the Lord might be revealing to you and then write down what God illuminates in your heart/life.

4. Why is the revealing light of God’s holiness in your life something that should make you cry out for his grace? How does knowing that you need the grace of God make you feel? Why is being in need of God’s good grace something you might bristle at when you first see it? Ultimately, why is being in need of God’s grace a good thing, not a bad thing?

The Mystery of Christmas

New Hope Presbyterian Church Bridgeton, NJ

Share This