Christmas Gifts are hidden in wrapping paper and then revealed. It is our human way of making things new. We have them and then to keep them away from others eyes we hid them. But we know the joy of giving gifts is in the revealing. When the gift we give is opened, the colourful wrapping paper torn away, the unknown and uncertainty disappears and present becomes real. In that experience, we can taste a small part of the joy that God has in the continuous act of Revealing.
As wonderful as the experience of revealing is, there is a danger in “the hiding” that we find when we move past the simplicity of giving a wrapped present. “Hiding” is one of the first acts of our human brokenness that separates us from God. In the story of Adam and Eve, what do they do when God shows up after they have eaten the forbidden fruit? They hide.
“Hiding” is one of the first acts of our human brokenness that separates us from God.
The Story of the three Magi in Matthew’s Gospel, in chapter 2, is a great example of contrasting actions of the world “hiding” and God “revealing”. Herod hides his motive when he asks the Magi to return to him to let know about the child when they find him. He says he would like to pay him homage as well, but really he wants to kill him and protect his power. Even the religious authorities were afraid of the though of the “King of the Jews” being born in their time of power. Worried about what threat he might pose.
Even today, the world keeps “hiding”. Sweeping surveillance of the general population by governments and industry made possible by technology has been hidden in misdirection, underneath candy coating, or cloaked in “free” services. Or the world hides things with semantics, choosing words describe things that sound different and not so threatening. We see this happening in the use of words like “enhanced interrogation” instead of “torture” to describe intentionally drowning someone to the point of death get them to answers some questions. This “hiding” is part of the brokenness of humanity demonstrated by King Herod, where we hide our selfish power-seeking motives.
Yet, as continuously as things are hidden in our world, we fight to reveal what is hidden in government workings, “legal” loopholes, privacy policies, and terms of service agreements. Part of us knows that God does not act in “hiding,”
God reveals. In the story of the Magi, God reveals the Good News of Jesus Christ in the heavens, in the form of a star. God reveals the birth place of the Messiah in the scriptures (Micah 5:2), when the chief priest and scribes are consulted by King Herod. And God reveals Herod’s deception to the Magi in a dream warning them to return home without returning to Herod.
Of course, in Jesus’ birth, God “reveals” The Christ through whom every person on the face of the earth is made an heir to the Kingdom of God. Through Jesus, God extends this promise promise to you and to me. In fact, to everyone on the planet. All are now equal in God’s eyes. Nothing hidden. No power or authority to fight over, to lie about, to hide and protect.
Of course we still do.
But we don’t have to.
And it is part of our Christian calling, as followers of Christ, to resist it and work to over come the brokenness of our humanity. Part of the work of the church, part of our calling as a good Christian person, is to continue to “reveal” the fullness of the message of Jesus Christ, the Messiah whose birth we have so recently celebrated! You and I through our words and deeds help “reveal” God’s love in Christ, which the world and human brokenness find ways to cover up and “hide”. Each generation, yours and mine, by living the message of Christ, is called to act like a star in the sky leading others to the truth revealed by God, in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Can I hear an Amen?