Christmas holidays are a time for slowing down, contemplating the better things of life, enjoying family time and going for leisurely walks. In December 2010, while walking along the beach between Port Fairy and Warrnambool in south west Victoria, some thoughts struck me.

The beach is about 23 kilometres long. With a gentle breeze in my face and the sun’s warmth on my back I wondered:

PICTURE: Peter Kas (www.sxc.hu)

"(I)f my assumptions are correct, it is statistically impossible that I am alive on this miraculous planet Earth along with 7,000,000,000 other human beings as a result of a fluke; a chance confluence of circumstances and random events in the cosmos some unknown time ago. The odds are too infinitesimal."

• Are there enough stars in the cosmos for every grain of sand in this beach to represent a star?

• If so, which of all these sand grains represents the Sun at the centre of our universe?

• And if my wonderings are correct, surely it is a miracle that, of the nine solar planets, Earth is the only one that has living animals and vegetables. Here I am on that planet spinning around that star represented by just one grain of sand on this long beach.

• It is a further miracle that most likely the Sun, the primary source of all solar system energy, is the only star in the cosmos with a living planet.

So how fortunate am I that I am so enjoying my walk on one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia which, in my opinion, is the best and most free country in the world on the only living planet in the solar system whose central star happens, maybe, to be represented by just one of the gazillion grains of sand on this 23 kilometre long beach?

After my beach walk I concluded that, if my assumptions are correct, it is statistically impossible that I am alive on this miraculous planet Earth along with 7,000,000,000 other human beings as a result of a fluke; a chance confluence of circumstances and random events in the cosmos some unknown time ago. The odds are too infinitesimal. This planet must be a miracle. In turn, my existence must be a miracle. How humbling. How about you?

A few weeks later I was driving along Springvale Road in Melbourne listening to a radio interview of a leading Australian astronomer. He astounded me by saying that there are so many stars in the cosmos that each can be represented by each grain of sand on every beach on Earth!

Wow! How wrong was I on my Port Fairy beach walk?

The astronomer went on to explain that Earth is in ‘A Goldilocks Zone’ – a circumstellar habitable zone. That’s why animals and vegetables can live on this extraordinary planet. Until a few weeks ago, no astronomer has found another planet in any other universe throughout the cosmos in a ‘Goldilocks Zone’; a planet of Earth-like size, composition and atmospheric pressure which can maintain liquid water on its surface and hence life. Conceivably we are the only intelligent beings in the cosmos capable of imagining our individual destinies and of achieving those destinies.

The astronomer dismissed any doubt in my mind that my existence, and yours, and yours, and yours, and yours, my friends, are absolute miracles!

Every human being’s existence – be they good or evil, beautiful or ugly, wealthy or destitute, old or young, fit or unwell – everyone’s existence is a miracle.

Our good friends, Helen and John, recently gave my wife Suzie and I a card with a quotation from Albert Einstein:
"There are only two ways to live your life...one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."

So, given that everybody (indeed everything) on Earth is a miracle, it is now easy for me to accept that the baby boy whose birth we celebrate at Christmas was miraculously conceived and born of a virgin.

That miracle was prophesised and took place about 1980 years ago to bless us all so that we might live lives absolved of our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ. It is His miraculous birthday that we celebrate at Christmas.

That’s what Christmas is for me.

Is that what Christmas is for you?