“The glory of the Lord shone round about them… good tidings of great Joy … unto you is born a Savior which is Christ, the Lord…Peace, Good will toward men…” Luke 2:
There are some concepts used in Scripture which are not just difficult for us to understand. They’re nearly impossible. We don’t really have anything in our current frame of reference which can shed a lot of light. Even when we try, how could we ever adequately describe a breathtaking, beautiful sunset to a person who’s never seen anything but the back of his eyelids? How would you try to describe the most beautiful music you ever heard to someone who’s never heard or spoken a word! How could anyone ever share anything which they’ve never experienced?
Before you look up the words in your dictionary (or your Bible dictionary) and as you approach the day we’ve set aside to remember the birth of Christ, would you spend a bit of time and try to help give these words the worth they deserve? Do you have any way to express the same ideas in perhaps a different way so it becomes fresh and new and has the impact on you as it had on those who first encountered the angels, the shepherds, the magi, Mary, Joseph, and the little baby sleeping soundly in a feed trough?
As I’ve been thinking again about the meaning of Christmas, above are some words which appear in the old, old story. The task I’ve set for myself is trying to mine some treasure in this venture. For my own benefit first, but I’ll obviously share anything I discover which has value and hope you’ll give me the benefit of your own insight into these concepts. What ideas do those words above bring to your mind?
In addition to trying to grasp the significance of the terms used, I’ve been considering the approach each of the writer of the four Gospel accounts takes: Their potential, primary audience, how they introduced Jesus to history, and their unique perspective of this eternal event. The entire “cast of characters” in this great drama. And, although I’d never really considered Paul’s contribution to our bank of knowledge about the Incarnation, I’ve been thinking about how he weighs in on such a profound idea.
My effort has been very rewarding. I feel we’ve gotten so accustomed to the idea of Christmas that there’s a danger of missing out entirely on the meaning of the Incarnation. Our vision has become so lame and tame. So blemished and blurred and tarnished. So superficial. We wear some words out. We just don’t understand them, and seldom take time or make effort to understand.
I’ve been asking: “Where’s the electricity? The excitement? Where’s the drama?” Our vision is so sanitized and sterilized, but the real event has the smell of the barnyard and human sweat and fear. Where’s the thunder and lightning? Where are the heart throbs and the gasps of awe and amazed wonder? Where’s the glory? The great joy?
Before the red and green rush comes hurtling at you and greedy merchandizing overwhelms you, will you take a bit of time and think with me in preparation for the Eternal Event?
How would you define those words in the context where we’ll find them couched as we read again about Christ’s birth? May I hear from you?
God’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student, ~donkimrey