First a Christmas thought. The third member of the Godhead, the eternal Creator, the Son, actually became Jesus of Nazareth, the man, at certain time, in a certain place. It was real. He was born a helpless baby, needy and dependent. As precious and sublime as any new child, and exposed to every danger and despair common to man. Uncommonly, death and hatred overshadowed his cradle the moment he was in it.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Why did he do it? If to reconcile all things to himself— No deus ex machina, no magic wand, no jedi mind tricks. He came. He became. He fully committed. He submitted to fetus, birth, baby, growing up, living a particular life, walking this sad world as a human being. Being misunderstood (but actually understood), dismissed, condemned, hated, pushed away, cast out, abandoned, tortured to death.
In order to reconcile all things to himself. For that is where all things belong, reconciled to him. It is where you and I belong too. He made us and our proper state is in reconciliation with him, in harmony with him, at peace with him.
That precious baby in the starry night is a pretty picture. Let us not forget all that it holds within.
A new routine. I get out of bed, I go downstairs in the dark. I light the tree only. I read on my ipad from an advent calendar (ccca.biola.edu) which accompanies its devotionals with art and poetry. I google more art from Medieval and Renaissance, mostly. I am intrigued by some insight, or several, in what I’ve read and seen. So then I write, and make a connection between the thoughts and the pictures.
It’s shamefully easy. Not like the life-wasting processes which produced the works, their creators to be compensated inadequately and the work seen by few. I lazily shuffle them together and present to the world via internet. Genius.
Nevertheless, I think My Father has been using this stingy bit of focus I achieve to speak to me. The centerpiece to each day is Scripture. I honor Scripture as the inspired Word from the lips of the Creator. So I give the Word its central place, and I see the connections from the art and the words leading to Scripture. They are reflections of it, illuminating it, illustrating it, bearing its Truth. And so the artists from hundreds of years ago still have much to say, thinkers throughout the ages can connect to what is said there and produce insights, meaningful synergies happen. The artists and scribes did all to the glory of God. And Glory to God, the works of hands and of ancient pens and of thoughts from last month proclaim the good news as if the Incarnation happened yesterday.
The news is relevant, fresh and still astonishing. Its meaning touches on everything, makes meaning where before we could see none. The Nativity is not a pretty children’s story, an old myth meant for simpler people, nor, thanks to God, a meaningless cultural trope.
Merry Christmas 2018, and a Happy New Year 2019.