As a child, Christmas was a magical time of year for me. It was filled with elves, snowmen, and perhaps most importantly, a reindeer with a glowing red nose. I never stopped to question how his nose would allow Santa to see through fog. (The high beams on my car barely do that). I never wondered if Rudolph created a traffic problem. Red lights are supposed to be on the back of a moving vehicle, not the front. I never challenged that a few scrawny caribou could haul several tons worth of gifts from a mystery location at the North Pole to every home across the world in a single night. I never speculated on the likelihood of Santa getting diabetes from all the cookies he ate. I didn’t ask where Santa was able to get all the resources he needed to make all the toys for girls and boys. Christmas wasn’t about understanding. It was about getting lost in the magic of the season.

As I’ve grown I’ve started asking questions. I don’t believe in everything I did as a child. Sometimes I miss the days when I believed in magic. Over the years I have come to realize something: there is more than one type of magic. The kind of magic I believed in as a child isn’t all that great. That magic is fun and exciting, but it’s all an illusion. That magic is deception. That is not the only kind of magic.

Christmas is a time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. We make choices, but we didn’t choose everything about this life. We didn’t choose pain. Pain happens. We didn’t choose loneliness, but we feel it. We didn’t choose trials and hardships but they come nonetheless.

Jesus had an option. He chose pain. He chose trials. He chose suffering, loneliness, hardship. He knew that the end of the road held a cross. Still He came. He suffered for our sin. He was pierced for our transgressions. He died in our stead so that through His death we could receive the gift of life. Jesus came and suffered so that we wouldn’t have to. He came to restore us to our place with God.

I used to believe in magic. I didn’t question it. I accepted the illusion. Now I question. But I still believe in magic. Not magic based on deceit. I believe in the magic of God. For what else could you call such grace? What other word can describe the amazing gift God has given us? How else can we explain the unconditional, unending, underserved love that God so freely bestows on us? It’s magic. God’s love, what He did for us, is magic.

My hope and my prayer for you is that this Christmas would be magical…even if you don’t see any flying reindeer or meet any elves. May the magic of Christmas fill your hearts. May God’s love for you overwhelm you.

May your Christmas be merry and your life be blessed,