I have known Mike Platten, who is a Christian professional magician, for years and have enjoyed watching him perform and share his testimony on several occasions. Recently he shared his gifts both in public worship and for the children's Christmas party at the 1st United Methodist Church in Sapulpa. As Mike began his performance, he made it clear that the "magic" he performed was just a "trick" based on illusion, and that the only one who could truly perform miracles was Jesus Christ. He brought his point home in an effective way by doing a card trick featuring the "king of hearts" and reminded the audience that we need to remember, this Christmas, that Christ came into the world to be the King of our heart. But it was his statement, "Jesus is the only one who performs true miracles" that caught my attention. It reminded me of the wonderful miracle that we know of as Christmas...
In Solution Focused Brief Therapy we often ask a question that is known as the "miracle question." It goes something like this: "Suppose tonight, while you were sleeping, a miracle happened and the miracle is this - that the problems that brought you here are completely resolved and gone. The only problem is that the miracle happens while you are sleeping so you don't know that it happened. When you wake up the next morning what would you notice that would let you know that this miracle had taken place?" This question then invites an exploration of what the client's life would look like without the problem. Often, from the pondering of this question and the verbalizing of a preferred, new way of living, clients are able to experience a significant life change.
But let me change the question just a little bit. Suppose tonight, you could enter into a personal relationship with One who could make real the miracle of change in your life. Suppose that through a relationship with Him you could experience: the forgiveness of your sins; new meaning, purpose and direction in your life; a peace that passes all understanding; a freedom from destructive compulsions, urges and habits, and a love for others that is greater than anything you've ever experienced before. Can you imagine how your life would be different? What an exciting and dramatic change this would be!
Some refer to Christmas as sort of a "magical" time. But I think Mike the magician is right; Christmas is not about magic, it is about the miracle of Jesus Christ coming into the world. It's about the miracle of the virgin birth and God's provision and protection of this new born child. It's about the miracle of new hope and life which He brings to the world.
So I invite you to embrace God's miracle for you this Christmas. You can do so as you embrace the One who God sent: Jesus, who is the greatest miracle of all. You see Christmas is not really a magical time, but it is a time when miracles can happen. They happen as we give our lives anew to Him.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.