One of his disciples urged Jesus to “show us the Father and that will be enough.” Jesus replied (and you can hear the weariness in his voice): “Phillip, have I been with you so long and you don’t know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14: 9)

It was this great character, exploding on the pages of the New Testament, who, more than anything else, drew me 35 years ago to the religion he founded. Jesus was and is a package of seeming contradictions: the man who is also God, the servant who is also king, the priest who is also the sacrifice, the savior who would not save himself, the one who died yet lived so that everyone who trusts in him, and will also die, will also live.

Yet the contradictions, I came to believe, are all true. His story is true, and he is true — just as it is also true that he is actually a living presence this Christmas morning, in the hearts and homes of his family around the world, who celebrate his birth.