Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Christmas Mysteries and the Reality of the Supernatural - by SC Skillman

I'm currently reading a  brilliant book by J. John: "Joy to the World", 25 Christmas Carol Meditations.
It's not often I'm so organised at this time of year, but I find myself following through J John's meditations, day by day, and plan to go through Advent with him.

Those of us who were at the Christian Resources Together retreat earlier this year (2018), will remember how compelling J. John's talk was (and indeed that was where I received my copy of "Joy to the World" and queued up to have J John sign it for me). He has a gift of being hilariously funny and also very profound and discerning.

So it is in this book, where he chooses particular Christmas carols and opens up their true meaning to us.

I have just read his meditation on "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen" and his thoughts on the fact that Christmas, in its most profound sense, is not for children at all, but it is about deliverance from evil.

As he points out, the Christmas story itself would be of no interest at all without the supernatural element. And the incarnation is largely about the supernatural truth that here in this world we are enslaved to evil, and we need to have redemption; and the awesome mystery of the entry into this world of a Redeemer, who stepped in to save us.

I have found that some Christians seem suspicious of the word "supernatural" which to me indicates that they misunderstand the meaning of the word, since the Christian faith is essentially a supernatural faith. The presence of the evil supernatural in this world may be attested to by simply looking at the news: as J. John says, there is subtantial evidence for Satan's activity.

But as J John points out, the Incarnation tells us that a Redeemer has come to break the power of the evil one who enslaves the world, and this is an idea that is found in many Christmas carols, and in particular, "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen":

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour
Was born upon this day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!


  1. Love this! Will look out for that book...

  2. Amen to that - if our faith isn't supernatural, we may as well all go home!

  3. Thank you. I'll look out for it too. I love singing carols and even more so if I understand the real meaning behind them.