Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Baby

"O come let us adore Him: Christ the Lord."

I was making my way through a department store last week and thought of an old Doonesbury cartoon: Michael J. sits ensconced in his easy chair watching TV. After loud shouts and the sounds of gun fighting the announcer says, “This concludes our regular broadcast day. Stay tuned for film clips of the Marines, a story from the life of Jesus and our National Anthem.” Doonesbury gets to his feet and joins in the singing of the anthem.

There you have it: the good, old American way: Equal time for everything and everybody. Nothing is special any more, not even Jesus, who, if we acknowledge at all, we place in a cluster of traditions.

Especially at Christmas. We keep the Christ–child around to grace an occasional manger, but he’s merely one symbol among many: Rudolph, Scrooge, St. Nicholas and his elves, toy soldiers, little drummer boys, shepherds, angels, Christmas trees, Yule logs and Jesus, all vie for our attention; everything alongside everything else. The Son of God gets lost in the Yuletide clutter.

Melissa knows better. She’s one our grandchildren. She’s grown up now, but many years ago, when she was very small, Carolyn and I took her to the Festival of the Trees, an event here Boise in which businesses and organizations decorate Christmas trees, competing with one another in various categories. The display is magnificent.

We were enchanted by the grandeur of the hall as we moved from one tree to the next, pointing and exclaiming. But Melissa soon lost interest, surfeited by splendor, until she came to a small manger scene and there she paused transfixed.

Nothing else mattered—not the magnificently decorated trees, not Santa Claus who was nearby and beckoning and not even an incredible talking tree.  She was captivated by the Child.

We tried our best to urge her on—we wanted to see the trees—but she lingered behind, wanting to hold the baby, pressing closer to him despite the ribbon stretched around the cradle, keeping her away 

Finally, she agreed to leave, albeit reluctantly, looking back over her shoulder to get a glimpse of the crèche through the trees. As we were leaving the building she tugged on my sleeve and asked once again  “Papa, can we go see the baby?” We went back to the manger and waited while she gazed long and longingly at the Child. 

As Melissa adored Him, I marveled at her simplicity. Unlike her, I often fail to see Jesus for the trees.

“There are some things worth being a child to get hold of again,” George MacDonald said. “Make me a child again,” I prayed, “at least for tonight.”

David Roper


Brian K said...

Luke 2:7 (NASB) And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Along the same lines of thought, we all can marvel @ the overabundance of distractive attention this time of year holds. It has been so bad for so long, I sometimes think that there is no more room for him on His own birthday! Numberless times I hear the excuse “no one knows when He was born anyway!” So perhaps people feel @ liberty to just go after the fantasy and remain intoxicated on delusion and manipulation.

This will never be acceptable to the believer; yes, we don't know exactly when He was born, but we do know that the Incarnation happened and is a living fact dwelling not on pages of history but on the fleshly heart of twice born saints. This is and continues to be joy to the world!

1 John 3:8 (NASB) the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

Really, the only way to rightfully interpret the mass fantasy that exists this time of year is to conclude that the enemy of truth goes to work overtime (like the elves) to make sure and certain that the baby and His divine agenda get eclipsed from the public eyes, ears and mouths! Oh, but how wonderful it is to know that God always has the upper hand to make certain that His grace abounds over sin. It is sufficient for you and me.

Make no mistake that even though we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace, ever since then and even now we realize that this is a time of amazing warfare. The spiritual shrapnel may fly more frequently here than on other calendar dates (like Halloween); why? Simply because Christmas, and Easter, for that matter, are days of holy commemoration, when the agenda of this rebellious world were forever foiled. But the cavalcade of carnage continues its march.

May you and yours enjoy this season of celebration and put on the whole armor of God. And may your new year be one of faith filled endeavors to know nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Dieter Schlaepfer said...

Nicely presented, Brian.

The destruction of the devil and his works are slow but inevitable. The enemy slanders, spits, and struggles, but the outcome is untainted, just, and holy. God is full of mercy, rescuing as many of us as possible from the destruction decreed on the devil.

In the meantime, we endure corruption and hostility, we testify to God's provision in Jesus Christ and the transformation that's occurring in us, and we serve in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings in return to you and your family.

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