Beautiful but Not Glorious
by Amelia G.
from Virtuous Daughters, December 2017/January 2018~Volume 17, Number 5
Christmas is my favorite holiday! The decorations, family time, the music that commemorates Christ’s birth, the surprises, the lights, going Christmas caroling... It is all so special. And I love nativity scenes! Knowing how very much I like nativity scenes, one of my sisters this last year gave me my very own for Christmas.
As I was looking at this lovely scene, I pondered that very special night so long ago. We have a way of making nativity scenes look so perfect and peaceful. The pristine manger with a sleeping baby Jesus, a graceful and rested Mary, Joseph standing strong and tall, the shepherds looking all neat and clean, the animals calm and keeping a respectful distance…
For some reason no one has thought to depict Mary completely weak and exhausted as any mother would look after traveling nearly 70 miles by foot or pack animal at full term, not to mention just having gone through labor and delivering a child! Joseph – he too would have been exhausted. Have you ever seen what a father looks like after he has been by his laboring wife’s side all night? I did once in my mother/baby clinicals in nursing school. Haggard and staggering through the unit hall, it looked like he had just been through a war zone! The shepherds came from their fields where they were caring for their sheep. Have you ever seen a farmer, or rancher, or other field worker come in from a long day’s work looking (or smelling) clean and fresh?!? And no one seems to have thought to include the pesky flies or the smell of manure in their marketable nativity scenes.
Yes, nativity scenes are beautiful. The Nativity was beautiful – but not glorious. Beautiful because God loved us so much He sent Jesus to this earth to be with mankind – Emmanuel! He came to live as an example, to suffer, and to die for our sins so we could be reconciled to God. That is beyond beautiful, but far from glorious! How humbling for the God of the universe to be received by his creation as a helpless baby, laid in a manger of all places. Before He was even a toddler a conceited monarch sought his life, and it didn’t end there! As He grew He was rejected, despised, betrayed, and eventually killed by the ones He came to save! Nothing could be further from glorious, but God has still made it beautiful – beautiful because of His great love for us! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
As you enjoy the glorious Christmas season, may you always remember the most beautiful gift of all!
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