The most extraordinary Christmas miracle isn’t what you might think. It’s not the Christmas star, the angels singing, or the wise men arriving from the east.
An Ordinary Encounter
You’ve probably seen the pan-handlers at freeway off ramps. Their signs tell various stories along a similar theme. They want money.
I’ve had various reactions to these men and women. Some look like they have a legitimate needs. Others don’t. Occasionally, I’ve given them food—a bag of nuts or some other snack. Usually, I give them nothing.
I’ve never given anyone an experience like Peter and John gave one man.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, and after He had returned to His extra-terrestrial home, the Bible reports that His closest friends continued doing extraordinary things. One of those extraordinary things took place when Peter and John were on their way to pray at the temple in Jerusalem (Acts 3).
A paralyzed man who had his helpers sit him down him at a temple gate saw Peter and John approaching. His position was better than a freeway off ramp. Would you turn down a pan-handler in front of your church?
The man called out to Peter and John and held out his hands. He’d done this many times before, and expected the usual, ordinary response.
That’s not what he got.
But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6 NLT)
Peter grabbed the man’s hand and helped him to his feet. As he pulled himself up with Peter’s help, the man felt strength in his feet and legs that hadn’t been there before. The Bible says he began leaping, and entered the temple walking and leaping and praising God!
The commotion caused by this man’s happy dance attracted a curious crowd from among the temple worshipers.
Peter moved to a place where the gathering crowd could hear him and used the opportunity to preach about Jesus. The crowd responded enthusiastically. But Peter’s preaching about Jesus wasn’t well received by the temple leaders who’d been involved in sentencing Jesus to death. They had Peter and John arrested (Acts 4).
The temple leaders were too late.
Peter’s preaching persuaded at least 5,000 people to believe in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The next day, the high priest with his council asked to speak to Peter and John. When the council asked by what authority Peter preached and healed.
The Bible says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, and under that power, he proclaimed that his authority came from Jesus who had been crucified, and raised by God from the dead.
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.(Acts 4:13 NLT)
An Extraordinary Outcome
These ordinary men became extraordinary by their connection to Jesus.
When Jesus entered this world as a human, humanity and divinity merged, making it possible for ordinary humans to live with extraordinary boldness and do extraordinary things.
Does your life seem ordinary, like something is missing? It’s very likely that what’s missing is the power of God’s Holy Spirit in your life. This is the real “Spirit of Christmas.” The Christmas miracle is that God can dwell in us, and us in Him. This miracle can happen in your life by connecting with Jesus. He’s only waiting for your invitation.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.