A second gem of Christmas

December 20, 2014 — 1 Comment

The mystery of God taking on flesh, is astounding enough. But there is another unexpected gem of Christmas: mess.

“We sanitize Christmas when we only present a picture-perfect, storybook rendition of what took place in Bethlehem 2000 years ago…The straw in the manger is fresh and clean. There’s no umbilical cord to cut and no blood. It’s a “silent night.” The surroundings are strangely free from the pungent odor of manure. Joseph and Mary are calm, cool, and collected. Everyone gets a good night’s sleep. There’s no controversy or gossip surrounding the birth. It’s a pleasant, appealing way to think about Christmas, but obscures the foulness, uncertainty, and sin that Jesus was born into. We forget that rather than coming for the put-together, well-to-do, and self-sufficient, Jesus identified with the rejected, the slandered, the helpless, and the poor.”
Bob Kauflin

Jesus came to live in the world He created, a world of beauty and delight. But it was also a world broken by sin, an uncomfortable world.

Along with the fragrance of warm bread, there was the stench of rotting flesh.

The song of a goldfinch was drowned out by the curses of an angry neighbor.
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Along with the beauty of a spring meadow there were deformed limbs, misshapen faces, leprosy.

The sweetness of honey came with painful stings.

Along with soft sheep’s wool, there were cold nights sleeping on scratchy straw.

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Besides the external mess, Jesus experienced discomfort in the flesh:

And as if that wasn’t enough,
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Isaiah 53:3

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do– yet He did not sin. Hebrews 4:15

Physical discomfort, the emotional pain of loss and betrayal, the spiritual suffering of temptation–these were all part of the life of Jesus. They make the birth we celebrate not a weak, watered-down present but a precious gift of love.

One response to A second gem of Christmas


    For such a blessed Christmas to remember, that of which you have written here, thank you, Annie.

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