I love to look at the pictures of snowfall. The quiet and peaceful scenery is enchanting to me. Especially at Christmas time. Dreaming of a white Christmas must touch some place in our hearts, it is so popular. Seeing animal tracks in the fresh snow, or children sliding down a hillside.
Of course I don’t have to drive in it, shovel it, worry about the weight of it on my roof, or miss work because of it. I don’t live in a place like that. I live in North Louisiana where snow flurries send people into panic. It’s almost apocalyptic when some snow lands on the ground here. And it’s beautiful because we get to look at it and then the next day it has seeped into the ground.
That’s kind of how I feel about most of the Christmas imagery that’s given to us through the media. The warmth of the family gatherings, marvelous feasts, gifts that surprise and amaze, perfect people saying the perfect things with the perfect background music playing and a fire in the fireplace. I don’t think most of us live in a place like that. Perhaps we long for it because it represents for us the shalom we desire for our lives … peace, well being, contentment, serenity. While I think we have our moments, for many people it seems out of reach.
I’m not being a grinch, believe me! I think we ought to seek all the joy and peace we can in this life. But remember when you look at that sweet little nativity scene presented on a card or in someone’s yard, someone has sanitized this for us. The discomfort, humiliation, dirty, scary, and smelly have all been washed away so that we can only see the beauty. But I don’t live in a place like that.
Yes, the beauty and majesty is there! But so is the mud and dung and hay. Jesus entered into the world in a filthy place … a world that was unfit for a King … but just right for a Savior. Grace came down into our mess and brought forgiveness, belonging, and a glorious eternal future. I don’t live in a place like that, but one day I will.
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