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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A different look at Christmas

The Lord Speaks (mixed media on paper)

I've been thinking about Christmas in a different way this year - I've been thinking about it's mystery and the amazing impact it has had on time and eternity. Let me explain what I mean; there are some deeper, more profound meanings to our wonderful winter time celebration. Thinking about these things has deepened my experience of Christmas this year.

Christmas is not a stand-alone event in time - just a beautiful moment of a special baby's birth.
Rather Christmas is the proof of a promise truly kept by a God with a true and trustworthy heart. God had created the world and everything in it to be good ... without the contamination of evil. That all changed in Eden - and the entire world and everyone in it had been on a collision course with destruction as a result. Evil is pervasive, and it has touched everyone of us. But, there is a great story of redemption afoot. A plan conceived by the heart of a loving God - to rescue and reclaim the people of his creation - if they would have him. We are a people who love stories of redemption ... whether they be stories in great books, or movies, or true accounts. Christmas is the greatest of those stories.

That first Christmas, was the beginning of an obscure and stealthy rescue operation - where God himself (in the person of Jesus) stepped into human history in the middle of the night - disguised as a newborn baby - vulnerable, helpless, weak. Only a few knew, at the time, because the angels who had attended him from the beginning of time could not keep silent. They announced his coming in the quiet moments of the night in a sheep's pasture with a sudden angelic song. The audience was the simplest of common folk, sheep herders - those who would listen and hear and be overjoyed. Terrified, of course - who wouldn't be - but a safe audience, and one who would believe.

The enemy was at work though - threatened ... unsure of the exact plan. In a wide-sweeping attempt to halt this astounding plan of redemption - all baby boys are killed. The land becomes one of mourning. But, slipping away in the night - Joseph is quick to respond to an angel's warning and he shelters God's Promise, protects God's plan of redemption, preserves his family of 3.

Jesus, the son of God - himself God - lived among us, as one of us - ate like us; walked and talked like us; laughed and cried with us... for a short life time. Taking up life in its fullness in order to lay it down for us - trading his life for ours. Redeeming us - buying back his most dear treasure (our spirits, our very souls.) The simple requirement is to acknowledge that a gift is being given and to accept it with a thankful heart. God, the loving Giver, offers that gift to each of us and waits hopefully for each of us - you and me - to receive it.

This story is much bigger than Christmas Day - it spans all of time, and into the time beyond time. This Christmas morning, as we mark the moment God stepped into history as one of us - I'm thinking beyond this day, and all its wonderful traditions, and I'm thankful for all its mystery and implications. I am thankful for a Savior who loves us enough to come on a daring rescue operation to restore our souls.

You can read the account of Christmas in the New Testament scriptures of Matthew (1st and 2nd chapters) and Luke (1st and 2nd chapters). The story is continued through the rest of the New Testament books - of course, the beginning of the story starts in Genesis in the Old Testament.


Rosehaven Cottage said...

I am so grateful to you for writing this beautiful tribute to our Savior, Jesus Christ, on this lovely Christmas morning. You have touched our hearts beyond words (I read this aloud to Brent, my hubby). You have encapsulated the true purpose of everything and particularly of Christmas. Thank you!

Cindy and Brent at Rosehaven Cottage

Chris said...

Thank you for the true meaning of our holiday. Your painting is beautiful and so are your words. What a great gift our God gave make a way and to take our wrath for us. He has done a big work in my life! I am truly grateful.
Merry Christmas.

JWP said...

What a wonderful reminder about the purpose of Christ's birth and a great little painting too! Love the use of color and your brushwork.

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