This inspired me today, I hope it does you, too.
The Beauty of It All
Rachel Olsen, Proverbs 31 Ministry
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV)
"Everywhere I go this month I take in the splendor of Christmas. Twinkling lights. Sparkly ornaments. Decorated cookies. Packages with shiny bows. Warm, spicy gourmand scents, mixed with the smell of fresh evergreen. A warm, crackling fire. Sounds of carols filling the air. Christmas is a feast for the senses!
Beauty pays a visit when we celebrate Christmas. Yet when I think back upon the story of Jesus' birth, there seems little lovely about it. The weariness of travel. No vacancy signs. A dusty manger. No running water. Smell of farm animals. The pain of childbirth. Damp, night air. Hay poking and scratching through makeshift blankets. I wonder then, why do we celebrate the day of Christ's birth with such decoration and adornment?
Then I notice how God marked the birth of His Son those thousands of years ago, and I begin to understand more about the ways we celebrate.
God heralded the arrival of His Son with a divine outdoor concert. According to the gospel writer Luke, shepherds sat on a hillside watching over their sheep that evening, when an angel of God appeared to them, surrounded by bright light. He said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12, NLT). Just as quickly as the first angel appeared, a large group of angels -- a whole choir full -- appeared. Praising God together, they declared, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests" (2:14, NLT). Suddenly our tradition of singing Christmas carols seems fitting.
God also announced the birth of His Son to the entire universe, according to the gospel writer Matthew, with a glorious new star in the sky. Millions of light years away, a massive ball of explosive gas began to blaze that day. Through it, God called wise men from far away lands to find and worship the true king. These wise men brought Him gifts: the spicy scents of frankincense and myrrh, as well as sparkling treasures of gold. Suddenly, the twinkling lights, the smell of fresh-baked gingerbread houses, and the carefully chosen gifts under the tree seem perfectly fitting.
In fact, the sharp contrast between our homes and towns at Christmas time and Jesus' first days on earth makes me realize just how humble Jesus is. It foreshadowed the entire life and ministry of this man who lived quite simply on earth, yet reigns as King of heaven.
I'm certain the most beautiful thing about that night centuries ago was the radiance that surely shined from the newborn cheeks, and twinkled through the precious eyes of that promised child. Yes, Beauty paid a visit that first Christmas, and He remains with us today."