The concreteness of Christmas crystallizes its Gospel: that our invisible Creator sent us palpable evidence, in the form of a newborn, so that we might believe and have eternal life.
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” —John 6:29 (niv)
Christmas: Believing in the One God Sent
Recently, a student in my Writing from Faith course voiced a revelation. “Until now,” she said, “I’ve always thought ‘Be concrete’ meant ‘Use more adjectives.’ Now I see I need to make people see what I saw, hear what I heard, smell what I smelled. Using your senses helps people believe and care about what you’re saying.”
She was responding to a fellow student’s psalm about not being able to afford to go home for Christmas—to Costa Rica, where her family members are missionaries. In the poem, the student-psalmist is alone in her room, staring at the computer while, just beyond the thin walls, her dorm-mates chatter excitedly about their holiday plans. She recounts family traditions she’ll miss: getting ornaments out of dusty boxes, drinking hot cocoa with her siblings while Dad reads Christmas stories, sharing a festive dinner of arroz con pollo. Then, like a good psalmist, she affirms her faith.
We all teared up. Afterward, her classmates raised money for her flight and launched a ministry to do the same for every missionary kid on campus.
It was a big moment for me. Not only had a student’s writing spurred others to action, but they’d also finally acknowledged the persuasive power of sensory data, which I’d been trying to convince them of from day one.
Christmas is such a sensory celebration. Carols. Pine smells. Fruitcakes and sugar cookies. Snow. The concreteness of Christmas crystallizes its gospel: that our invisible Creator sent us palpable evidence, in the form of a newborn, so that we might believe and have eternal life.
Beloved Creator, let the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Your creation lead us to You. —PattyKirk
Digging Deeper: Is 9:6–7; Lk 2:1–20; 2 Cor 9:15