“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever.” Deuteronomy 29:29
“The mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them, God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:26-27
Advent unfolds in darkness and secrecy, like a predawn fog. Whispers of a rumor that things shall not always be shrouded and furtive. Christmas explodes with brightness and revelation, like a sunrise burning away the mists. Shouts of discoveries, things cherished and festive.
God can keep a secret. For ages and generations, the mysterious Lord kept His people by a promise. That through the seed of Eve, God would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). That this seed would come through the line of Abraham who trusted in the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist (Romans 4:17).
Paul Tournier writes about the essential nature of secrecy in human development:
“The first stage in the formation of a person was a withdrawal, becoming an individual by the creation of a personal secret. The second stage was the free communication of the secret to someone else freely chosen, and out of it the experience of love and the interpersonal relationship with another. And the third stage is to have this double experience in our relations with God, to feel ourselves distinct from him, to tell him our secret and to know thereby the interpersonal relationship with him, the experience of the love of God.” Secrets, 60-61.
God called Israel to keep a personal secret, and so made her a special and beloved people. Although the promise was public and clear, who could have known the mystery at the heart of it all? That God himself would be the promised seed. That in Jesus, God would come to his own world, uniting himself with human flesh in the secrecy of Mary’s womb. Christ in her, the hope of glory.
Who could have known this God-man would carry our sickness unto death, overcome sin, death, and evil through his glorious resurrection, and ascend to the throne of heaven? Who could have known this gift and
grace would break down the dividing walls between Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, men and women, young and old, uniting all in one Holy Spirit through baptism? Who could have known that through a meal of bread and wine Christ would continue to come to us in secrecy to our sight but in saving fullness to our faith?
Such a dance of secrecy and revelation suggests a God of endless joy and mirth. We experience the love of God in a mysterious relationship. God has his secrets, but what he has revealed “belong to us and to our children forever.”
Merry secret Christmas,