A Seraphim sits in the heavens, breathes on a drop of water and weaves the resulting crystal into a solitary snowflake. It falls to the ground like a mother kissing her sleeping child; gently, softly, silently.
Road salt turns it from angelic art into a grime that wiper blades smudge away. A work truck drives through the slush, rocks and sand pitting its windshield. A pleasant little “Bing” warns that an important fluid is almost gone. Feeling a bit harried and beat up, the driver listens to the news on the radio. He is running near empty too, tired and burdened.
From a distance the Earth is beautiful. Up close, sometimes not so much. What gives us hope is the fact that this is the same planet with the same issues that it has always been, and that it is into all this that a child was born, and they called him Emmanuel.
God With Us.
The audacity should shock us. The gods that we make in our own image are incapable of this measure of chutzpah. They remain far off, regal, indifferent at best, condescending.
What they never do is see with love, listen with compassion…or come closer.
None of us live in a snow-globe version of life, though at times it appears that the raw ingredients are there: gently falling snow, couples walking hand in hand, carollers bundled up on the front steps of a church. Look a little closer though, and things begin to unravel:
One or two of the carollers think that freezing their buns off is better than being cooped up with family.
That couple walking together down the lane? They’re wondering how to plan a funeral during the Christmas season.
That lovely snow? It’s trying to find shelter down the frayed collar of a homeless man.
And into it all comes Emmanuel, the newborn infant laid in a feeding trough, his virgin mother wrapping him tight against the cold. That’s where the magic happens, friends: the place where everything around us screams that we are unwanted and deserted, and a gentle hand comes in to calm our fears, wrapping us up snug and tight in linens of hope.
If you fall in love with Christmas, let it be because of the story of the Humble God who wasn’t afraid to get His hands dirty. Jesus didn’t come to buy shares in Hallmark- he came to bleed.
When uncertainties come in like a killing frost, when you find yourself whispering, “This Christmas, I just hope I’m not alone…”, look at Jesus again, and hear Heaven whisper…
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 NASB