Wholly Holy


How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sinx

Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in

Jesus was born into straw poverty on a silent night because that’s the way He continues to come into the world again, and again and again. He quietly steals His way into the straw poverty of our souls — no fanfare — only angels notice and sing. (The Bible says the angels make a pretty big deal of it when even one sinner comes to Christ, but, of course, we don’t hear that.)

Why, do you think, did He come so quietly and with little or no fanfare? I’m sure there are lots of reasons, but one I can think of right now is that transformation starts small. Christ’s coming is never boisterous. We are not changed overnight. We start a lifetime process of reflecting more and more of His glory in our lives. But it starts small and grows over time.

A slow gradual change is more realistic, and more supported by the reality of Christ’s life in us. If having Christ born in your life turned you into an immediate spiritual giant, you would be eventually crushed under the weight of having to keep up that image. As it is, Christ’s presence in our lives is hardly seen, but over time, it changes us. The changes are real, produced from the inside by Christ Himself through His Holy Spirit and not fabricated on the surface by us. Spiritual change is not like returning from a spiritual retreat all pumped up, only to be eventually deflated by daily realities. Spiritual change is a part of those daily realities as Christ’s life is imbedded in us.

It was a silent night, but it was also a holy night. What made it holy was an invasion. It was an invasion of earth by heaven and heaven’s forces. The son of God, administered to by angels, broke the plane of our earthly existence and nothing’s been the same since. God has entered our space, taken on human form and lived as a human being for 33 years, and suddenly, everything about this physical existence is holy. There is no longer a line between sacred and secular — physical and spiritual. All of life is sacred because the Son of God lived it. The most human of things is now holy. Christ is in you, doing everything you do, what is there that isn’t holy? Now, we’re not trying to get out of this human existence — (i.e., “Help, I’m trapped inside this human body!) — we are sanctifying our experiences in it — we are finding out what is holy about it. And we are finding out that there is much that is. We are finding out we can live a wholly holy life. God did, in Christ. So can we.

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7 Responses to Wholly Holy

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Amen: “We are finding out we can live a wholly holy life. God did, in Christ. So can we.” Lord help me!

  2. John Fagliano says:

    A great Christmas message to remember all year long. The best things in life don’t have fanfare. The overrated things do. Have a great Christmas filled with his silent invasion.

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      TY brother John for the GREAT point of: “The best things in life don’t have fanfare. The overrated things do.”

      Merry Christmas to you & yours.

  3. “I’m right. You’re wrong. Go to Hell.”

    Although sounding suspiciously like the many conversations we’ve witnessed in the last year, these words were written years ago by the historian Bernard Lewis describing a different dialogue on religion (The Atlantic – May 2003). But he may as well have been describing the generally accepted tenor of myriad conversations in our public discourse over the last year.
    Whether it’s in our text threads, social media posts, or the comment section in newspapers, we don’t seem to be a happy group of people these days.

    As we end one year and begin another, I wonder to myself what, if anything, can heal the anger in our hearts. Is there any power out there that can bind up our wounds, both as individual persons and as a society?
    Personally, I have not told anyone to go to hell this past year, but I have certainly felt that sentiment more times than I’d care to admit. That’s the insidious nature of anger; it’s not necessarily what’s heard or done physically, but the inward aspect of it that can eat away at us.
    I think that the source of my anger in different situations tends toward the desire to change other people and circumstances.
    And when my desires are blocked or are put on hold, the feelings only grow.

    [I’ve] recently been drawn to the simple story of Christmas. The baby Jesus lying in a manger surrounded by His mother and father.
    A humble beginning, if ever there was one.

    One of the narrators of Scripture tells us that this story is Good News. And in a nutshell, the coming of Christ was and is Good News because… this baby Jesus was God in flesh sent to us to heal our hearts.

    The Gospel stories tell us mostly of His short adult life, in which He performed miracles, shared meals with many and taught in various settings. But the sharpest, provocative and more contentious claim within Christianity has to be the fact that this God-in-flesh figure had the power to change hearts.

    The miracles, teachings, exorcisms were one thing, but they were all signposts of the greater miracle: the healing of the human heart.

    To say that this message had staying power would be a severe understatement. Historians and sociologists of all stripes have written books around this heart-changing power of Christ throughout history — how His lasting influence has changed people, circumstances, and even public policies throughout societies and communities for good.
    The history of Christianity is complex and not without its blemishes, but there is something calming, heartening, and inspiring when I simply focus my mind on Jesus Christ and who He was.

    So, as I search for practical ways in which I can deal with the anger in my own heart, I keep coming back to the Christmas story of a God who simply became one of us.
    I long, hunger and thirst to know how this God can truly change a cold heart; how and if it’s possible for Him to soften mine.

    And I think of the words from “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:
    O holy Child of Bethlehem
    Descend to us, we pray
    Cast out our sin, and enter in
    Be born in us today
    We hear the Christmas angels
    The great glad tidings tell
    Oh, come to us, abide with us
    Our Lord Emmanuel!

    This is what I need; perhaps it’s what many of us need: the very power of God to enter my life and change me.
    Wherever we find ourselves, the power of Christmas starts in that ancient stable in Bethlehem where God came to us, not in the form of a king, a ruler, or a member of the aristocracy but a baby — small, weak and vulnerable.

    It would be this kind of humility that won, and still wins, hearts to mercy, love and grace.

    Maybe this is how our hearts can be changed; not simply by saying no to anger and hate, but by welcoming mercy, love and grace in to replace the former.

    Excerpted from:
    “The Christmas Story’s Power to Heal the Anger In Our Hearts”
    By Nathan Betts (Author of “Short Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions”)
    ~ Seattle Times – December 24, 2022


  4. Sandie says:

    “and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.”
    John 1:4,5

  5. In the greatest act of lovingkindness ever: God gave Himself as His own Son to all of us so that we might be revived and delight in His gift of Life that He originally breathed into us through Adam.

    If we make no other resolution(s) for 2023 then let us all at least try (in a small way, each and every day) to pass along, pay forward His gift of lovingkindness.

    May we all willingly and eagerly “Accept The Pebble”:

    Shalom, Peace to each of us!


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