We have a little pond at the end of our garden. It is our view into another utterly different world – a water breathing and virtually gravity free one. Beings there can just fly up and down whenever they want. The roof of their world is the silver surface of the water. At certain angles they can see us - and we can see them. Our world must be as unbelievable to them as their world is to us. Both are real. They live below that silver ceiling and we live above it. This does not mean that their reality is any less real than ours. We have a silver ceiling of our own. Above us is a spiritual world
Death is our silver ceiling - We know for certain that human beings have spiritual identities which survive death. There is a vast body of literature and testimony from people who have had near death experiences and to have been revived after apparently fatal accidents – often on the operating tables. We know that while they were clinically dead, they could see without their physical eyes, hear without their physical ears and above all think without their physical brains.
Near death survivors become humane amphibians for minutes or hours or even days before their human body draws them back to our air breathing gravity bound world. For a short time, they become like some animals like frogs and toads in our pond - amphibians
Saints and prophets are spiritual amphibians They live in this world and the next. Our Lord was the supreme spiritual amphibian. Equally the events around his life were spiritually amphibious.
Everything about Christmas is amphibian – but is it too good to be true? What is the earthly events associated with the spiritual ones.
These are the things we know for certain about Christmas. We know for certain that Isaiah’s prophecies of around 600 BC were true. Equally we know for certain that Mary was a virgin and that she was visited by the Angel Gabriel. (Luke 1:26–38) that thanks to the Angel Gabriel, Mary knows that she was the bare child who was to change the world. Christianity did change the world
We know for certain that Mary went and stayed with her elderly and apparently barren cousin Elizabeth who was to give birth to John the Baptist. This was after her own a miraculous conception following her equally elderly husbands’ Zachariah’s vision in the temple
We know for certain that the Messiah was born in the Royal City of Bethlehem as was prophesied by Isiah and numerous other prophets.
We know for certain that shepherds were miraculously informed of the Christ Child’s birth by angels - as there are so many first-hand witnesses. (Luke 2:8-20)
We know that wise men travelled a great distance to worship Christ child and that brought prophetic gifts - gold for a king, frankincense for divinity and myrrh as a symbol of death.
We know for certain that the prophecies of Simeon and Anna were to be fulfilled. The Christ Child was to grow into a man who lived in both worlds, healing the sick, raising the dead and prophesied his own death and miraculous resurrection.
We also know for certain that miraculous dreams played a key role in the protection of the baby Jesus.
Joseph was warned in a dream to protect Mary as she was to give birth to our Saviour (Matthew 1:18-21).
Equally the wise men were warned in a dream not to tell Herod of the location of the Christ Child (Matthew 2:13).
Importantly Joseph was warned in a dream to emigrate to Egypt to avoid Herod’s massacre of the first-born sons in Bethlehem.
Lastly After Herod had died Joseph was again informed in a dream that it was safe to return (Matthew 2:19-23
We also know that Our Lord left a body of teaching to utterly change the world – as prophesied.
Our Lord created the ladder between earth and heaven that we call Christianity. This gives us all the opportunity to be amphibians – to escape the limited reality of our world.
Religion is not a nice to have – it is our birthright – the reason we live. If we follow the teaching Our Lord left us it not only enriches our earthly life but prepares us for the next world that we know for certain that we will all enter.
We can all be amphibians - just as our Lord was and so many of the people around him and who listened and practiced his teaching.
We can choose to share in that spiritual dimension here on earth.
This is why I have devoted my life to it and can recommend it to you all
……. HAPPY CHRISTMAS. Amen
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.