Christmas Through the Lens of the Transfiguration

The stores had Christmas product on the shelves almost before they had cleared away the Halloween stuff.
Many of my neighbours have put up their Christmas lights and lawn decorations already.
My co-worker is already listening to Christmas music.

Christmas is coming.

And besides the festivity and commercialism of this holiday, it also celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes’ and, laying in a manger, “no crying he makes.”

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But the thing that I want to remember during the season is that Jesus was not just a man, but he is also God. For those who believe that seems a given; however, when I typically think of Jesus, in my mind I picture a guy standing there – with black hair and brown eyes and generally Middle-Eastern looking. He has a body, and he uses it in all the mundane ways that I do. But if that’s my only picture of Jesus, then it’s incomplete. Because there’s more to him than that.

And that’s why I want to remember the Transfiguration during this holiday season. The Transfiguration – when Jesus took three of his closest disciples up a mountain and metamorphosed (the same word in Greek) before their eyes: shining bright as the sun with his clothes becoming white as light. Not reflecting light, but revealing it. Giving his disciples a ‘glimpse behind the scenes’ to his true identity and confirming his disciple Peter’s proclamation six days earlier “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

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As I frame the Christmas season with the Transfiguration, then I keep in my mind Jesus’ purpose for coming and my celebration takes on a larger meaning to include his death and resurrection and return. And it helps to keep me grounded during the rush and busyness that comes with our modern, Western celebration of Christmas.

(I’ve written about the Transfiguration before – you can read it here)

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