It’s all messy, but one day only beauty will remain.
This is the week serene images of the first Christmas will be displayed everywhere. They will feature Mary, the mother of Jesus, Joseph the Christ-child’s adoptive father, shepherd and wise men, and the Babe Himself (and don’t forget all the docile livestock looking on) all in a quiet peaceful stable, lit by the lovely glow of star and/or candlelight.
Yet I can’t help think about the messiness of that moment and what it means for us. The birth of the Savior was indeed miraculous and humankind’s greatest gift. Still for the people present during this most Holy event, I expect pain, urgency, and uncertainty met them (that night and in the days that followed).
Mary knew little about what her “yes” to God would bring. Even at her tender age, she could guess, at least, that it’d involve the pain of childbirth. Perhaps worse, there’d be the ostracism and shame of giving birth outside of wedlock.
Yet, I sometimes wonder, would she have said yes if she knew the agony coming? Would she have agreed to be the mother of the King if she knew her heart would be pierced clean through?
Beauty in the Mess
Maybe Mary would have agreed anyway. Maybe she knew the truth that incredible beauty lies in the midst of great suffering. Perhaps she understood that the beauty received in saying yes to God always outshines the sacrifice made.
Jesus Christ came into this world, incarnate in the flesh as a helpless infant, spent His life on earth as a servant, and made Himself helpless again on the cross, to pave the way to beauty in a fallen world.
The birth of the Christ child was messy and painful yet glorious in the fulfillment of God’s promise.
The blood of the cross was gruesome yet triumphant in the wiping away of our sins (Isaiah 53:5).
The hardships of life challenge our faith, yet the growth and transformation that occur through them are invaluable.
Mary may not have known the extent of the sacrifice she’d willingly endure. But no doubt she believed that out of whatever horror she had to walk through, would come a surpassing beauty. She trusted her Lord to redeem all the pain she’d face.
What Will Remain
As much as we’d like to paint Christmas as a tranquil Norman Rockwell scene, the truth is it was and continues to be messy. From the soiled and unpretentious birth of the Son of God to the often complicated and chaotic circumstances of living in this fallen world, this most-precious holiday presents challenges.
But take heart! In the midst of that mess, a Light shines, Splendor reigns. Beauty clothes the ugly, joy replaces pain.
So go ahead and post those pastoral nativity scenes. Because Jesus Christ is born! Messiness is terminal. One day, only the glorious and lovely will remain.
All praise to His holy name!
“I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me would not remain in darkness.” John 12:46
Reflections: What thoughts do those tranquil nativity scenes bring up in your mind?
- *Sunlight glistening off snow crystals; *Listening to Joey and his classmates for another wonderful high school Christmas concert; *Goofing around with my boys
- *Hubby’s help to pick out new glasses; *Rachel’s excitement at creating sentences with her communication app (an emerging skill); *The “nonessential” medical care that makes my life more comfortable (too often a blessing taken for granted)
- *A young deer frolicking in our front yard; *Fun of watching Rachel process math concepts in her very expressive manner; *Laundry caught up (for a split second I think)
- *Able to greet Zachary’s roommate Wesley before he flies home for the holidays; *Picking up Oberweis eggnog as a special treat for when we decorate our trees; *Safe trip getting Zach home for nearly a month!
- *Imperfectly perfect Christmas trees cut down and put up; *The 6 of us together this year to choose our trees; *My oldest being newly employed: official adulting reality begins with the new year
- *Decorating our barn for the holidays with Hubby and all four kids; *Celebrating Daniel’s offer and acceptance of a position with The Family Leader, a Christ-centered organization whose mission is to strengthen families; *Playing Monopoly with the boys and being reminded of some of their past antics
- *Woodstove warmth in the midst of frigid outdoor temperatures; *Hosting Bible study; *Sharing the blessing of our barn getaway
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time. Yours in grace ≈ Julie
I'm so glad you're here to walk with me through this messy but glorious journey called life! Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends. And don't miss a single piece of encouragement! Sign up to get every post in your inbox. It's free, and you'll receive free gifts just for signing up. Oh, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Yours in grace ≈