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  • Jonathan Huddleston

Real in eternity, real in history

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory. John 1:14

In the famous editorial titled "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus," Francis Church claims that unseen things really exist--things like love and generosity and devotion. We can't see these things; we can't prove them. Only by faith can we "push aside that curtain" that blocks our view of the unseen world, to "picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond."

In some moods, we may find Church's words profound and stirring. In other moods, we may consider them unsatisfying, maybe a little bit weaselly. "Yes, but is it really real?" I can imagine Virginia asking. Or is it just a bunch of poetic fancy?

Christian theologian Dorothy Sayers says that there are two types of reality. One is eternal and inspiring, but a little bit vague--the reality of aspirations and hopes, of faith and love, of justice and peace. The other type of reality is solid and tangible, but fleeting--the reality of mundane physical things, here today and gone tomorrow.

Dorothy Sayers claims that the birth of Jesus is both. It is eternal and inspiring (like the spirit of Christmas). But it is also solid and tangible (like the battle of Gettysburg). Jesus is real in eternity, and also real in history. The invisible, eternal Word became solid, historical flesh.

Jesus is real in eternity, and also real in history. The invisible, eternal Word became solid, historical flesh.

In some moods, we may appreciate the universal Christ-child of poetry, eternally present whenever we sing carols and share with the poor. In other moods, we may appreciate the baby Jesus of history, born in Judean Bethlehem when Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-2). The Bible invites us to appreciate both at the same time!

Jesus is both eternally real, and historically real. Jesus is the spiritual made physical, the Word made flesh. Jesus unites our spiritual faith in the unseen world, and our rational exploration of the visible world. In Jesus, our lives are not split into faith versus fact; the two come together.

And we behold God's glory in the face of Jesus.



  • Join us every Sunday at 10 a.m. to encourage one another in worship. This Sunday (December 24) we are having a short, fun morning service.

  • Then at 7 p.m. we invite everyone to a special evening program with music, candle-lit communion, and a reverent focus on the names of Jesus.

  • After the 7 p.m. service, everyone is invited to stay for our annual Christmas party.

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