The Majesty and Mercy of Christmas
Christmas is filled with beauty and wonder. From a merely human perspective, the music, decorations, and lights create an atmosphere of joy and anticipation. It is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
It is, however, important and even necessary that we remind ourselves that the beauty of Christmas supersedes these things. For the follower of Christ, outward accoutrements are mere expressions and reminders of far greater and lasting realities. The manger was not a cute cradle surrounded by clean golden straw and germ-free animals. The shepherds were not clean cut Middle Eastern men. The surroundings of the Christ child were not glorious.
The manger was for feeding dirty animals which left their manure where they fed. The shepherds were men of dubious social status whose motives and character may well have been suspect. The character of Christ’s parents was questioned almost from the beginning, since the origin of the virgin-born child was surrounded by questions and mystery.
So the majesty of Christmas is not adequately illustrated by pristine decorations, shining halos, and brilliant auras. The majesty of Christmas is displayed through God incarnate planted among manure and dirty animals and worshipped by social outcasts. The majesty of Christmas is magnified by the holy God of heaven invading the filth of humanity in the form of human flesh. The majesty of Christmas is defined by the mercy of God for the untouchable and the unloveable. Our Savior did not come to complimentary surroundings but to contrasting realities that highlighted His holiness and our helplessness.
The arrival of another Christmas is our opportunity, not to reject its temporal beauties, but to embrace anew its eternal realities. As this Christmas comes and goes and the excitement of the season wanes, hold fast to its majesty and mercy which reside in the person of Christ Jesus our Lord.