Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Ponderings:Christ's Beauty & Our Ugliness....

Well, it’s here. It’s almost Christmas time. Just one more day. I love this season. Maybe it’s because I gravitate towards all things beautiful and for me, Christmas encompasses beauty. The glowing lights. The decorated Christmas trees. The smell of fresh baked cookies. Evenings spent by a crackling fire. Watching Christmas movies with my family. Nat King Cole singing Christmas classics. Holiday parties with friends. Getting to wear a pretty dress. I love it.

Yet, it’s so easy to gloss over this season with all the busyness and chaos and fail to feel the weight of why we’re really here celebrating and why there is a reason for Christmas. Have we really stopped and were still long enough to let it all sink in?

We as humans are naturally drawn to beauty- beautiful things, views, people, music, stories etc. This season is beautiful and the Christmas story is beautiful too. But the beauty of this story isn’t one that the world really esteems. In a world that loves fame and fortune and the glamorous- Jesus didn’t fit the mold. The people of Israel were anticipating an earthly king to come with a sword in his fist ready to deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. Jesus came as a baby, to a lowly virgin girl from a no name town called Nazareth, and was born in a stable amongst the sheep and donkeys. This wasn’t what they had planned. Yet, Isaiah prophesied of Jesus’ lowly coming.

“For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form of majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised and rejected and we esteemed Him not.” –Isaiah 53:2-3

As I read the gospels I get so frustrated of the blindness of the people of Israel. How could they be so oblivious? The long awaited Messiah-King Jesus had come! He was right in front of them and yet, they did not see it. He was the One who the prophets of old we're talking about! Yet, would I be any different? Me, who naturally esteems the gorgeous, rich and famous? Would I even notice? I’d like to think I would but what if Jesus had come in our day? Would we esteem Him? Would we recognize our Messiah? He probably wouldn’t be the leading televangelist, or have millions of followers on social media. He would probably be a no body in our eyes.

Thankfully Jesus is completely different from us. We gravitate to earthly beauty. We esteem it. We value it. We are drawn to it. The opposite- we aren’t so fond of. Jesus on the other hand, who is the King of Heaven with overwhelming love- He is drawn to us- the ugly. Not to us on our good days, when we are doing the right things or when we “have it all together.” No. Jesus- God Almighty- left the glories, the comfort, the beauty and praise of Heaven to come to earth. He came to be nothing to a world that esteemed Him not. He came to us- the ugly, rebellious, filthy and tyrant people and we hated Him. We spit at Him. We rejected Him. We failed to see Him as our Savior and ultimately killed Him. Yet, in loving-kindness and unfathomable grace He came. Not in a way that we would praise and esteem Him.

He the Most High King became the lowest of the low, so that us- the lowest of the low may be counted as righteous and holy, adopted children of the Most High.

Grace and love. Peace and perfect justice. Floodgates of mercy… all wrapped in a swaddling clothes laying in a manger in Bethlehem. He’s not what was expected. There was no loveliness that would bring the multitudes and make the front page of the news. He was born in humility. But He is exactly what we need. In our shame, our defiant rebellion, dead in our sin- He came. He came to our ugly mess and bid us to come to Him. He didn’t turn away in disgust. He didn’t reject us. But He bore our sin. He became one of us so that we could be counted as one of His.

His coming, His living, His dying, His resurrection has nothing to do with our worthiness. It’s about Him. It’s completely undeserved on our part. A.W. Tozer in a prayer in his book Knowledge of the Holy articulates this beautifully:

“We are sure that there is nothing in us that could attract the love of One as holy and just as Thou art. Yet Thou hast declared Thine unchanging love for us in Christ Jesus. If nothing in us can win Thy love, nothing in the universe can prevent Thee from loving us. Thy love is uncaused and undeserved. Thou art Thyself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved. Help us to believe the intensity, the eternity of the love that has found us. Then love will cast out fear; and our troubled hearts will be at peace, trusting not in what we are but in what Thou hast declared Thyself to be. Amen.”

This season is beautiful and enjoy it. But please don’t let it go by without stopping and pondering the real Beauty- Jesus. King of Kings come to earth to redeem an ugly people like you and me.

We have a Savior.

His Name is Jesus.

He is greater than we can ever imagine.

We are worse off than we’d ever like to admit.

Yet, we are more loved than we could ever hope.

1 comment:

Crista Moriah said...

Amen! Praise the Lord for His mighty grace. This Christmas has been very different for me. Jesus has opened my eyes to see beyond. Since the whole reason why He came was to bring hope, light, & healing...and I am His, I carry His light inside me. I should be focusing my attention on spreading the Gospel in an effort to give the blessed hope of Jesus, salvation to the broken of this world. Our King is here, Emmanuel, God with us!

Perhaps the greatest way to celebrate Christmas is to be His hands & feet...

It has been said by Christina Rossetti,

"How beautiful are the arms, which have embraced Christ, the eyes which have gazed upon Christ, the lips which have spoken Christ, the feet which have followed Christ. How beautiful are the hands which have worked the works of Christ, the feet treading in His footsteps have gone about doing good, the lips which have spread abroad His Name, the lives which have been counted for Him."