Encouragement for Today - Dec. 19, 2008
December 19, 2008
The Beauty of It All
“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
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. How glorious that we have become this king’s temple. How splendid that our hearts become His majestic throne – with no lights, ornaments or holly branches required.
I think I’m beginning to understand the beauty of it all.
Dear Lord, Give me eyes to see and ears to hear all the beauty that You bring into my world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Visit Rachel’s blog – where she is posting daily advent readings.
A Recipe for Christmas Joy (e-book) by Marybeth Whalen
Creation Globe for children.
Let the Christmas decorations you see carry your mind back to that night some two thousand years ago, and reflect on the beauty of God’s plan for salvation.
How can I allow the beauty of Christ to shine through me today?
Ephesians 4:7-8, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 3:11-14, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” (NLT)
© 2008 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105