When you close your eyes and take a moment to imagine a holy or miraculous moment, what picture appears in your mind? For many, heavenly skies, a divine light, or the glory of his temple comes to our imaginations. These descriptions are all accurate and reflective of the majesty of our God.
However, as we examine the scriptures, especially during Christmas, we should be more acquainted with another picture of holiness that’s equal in power. Celebrating the birth of our Savior and King is a time of wonder for every believer. The miracle of the virgin birth and Christ’s humble arrival in a manger paints a divine image that can become difficult to hold because of the unrealistic nature of what it would actually mean for real people to endure. The details of Christ’s birth story can even create holes in our faith if we aren’t careful.
We must ask ourselves, how is this imagery and story impacting our faith? Concurrently, we must ask ourselves a foundational question of our faith. And that’s, is there anything too hard for God? When we hold both these questions, we can embrace Christ as fully man and fully God.
Recognizing the humanity of Jesus
This scene depicted perfectly in every home, church, and nativity decor set on the store shelf is what sets the standard of how we define a holy moment in our hearts and mind. Without the supernatural lens, Christ’s birth is impossible. In our attempts to illustrate a picture of what it means to be fully man and fully God, have we missed the point entirely?
As we attempt to revere this sacred moment, have we stripped away the power that comes with recognizing Jesus’ humanity and the humanity of every individual on the scene?
Jesus was born in an actual barn stable, not a magical barn that was sterile, warm, and cozy. This barn had real animals who behaved as real animals. Let’s remove the animated pictures of talking animals who became a labor and delivery team from our minds and sit with the reality of this moment. When we do this, it elevates God to the wonder and majesty that he is.
Giving birth is beautiful because new life is being created, but it is one of the most painful, messy, and vulnerable experiences a woman will ever have in her life. Mary was a woman who dealt with an actual pregnancy and gave birth in a real barn. Modern-day culture affords us hospitals and birthing centers that create a pristine birthing experience which aligns with how we like to depict the birth of Jesus in our minds and cultural interpretations. We imagine a perfect, uncomplicated, glowing moment of beauty instead of wrestling with the complex and uncomfortable realities for the people involved in the miracle of his birth.
When we take a moment and remove our rose-colored glasses and think through the reality of what it looked like to give birth to a child under these circumstances, it creates quite a different posture when we view our roles in God’s story.
Many of us go through life searching for the halos, angels, and voices that speak to us through the clouds. And we bypass the uncomfortable, painful, and even despicable moments in our lives that refine and cultivate the perfect atmosphere for God-ordained holiness to arrive on the scene.
Looking past our worldly mess
When we look at all of the complications surrounding the arrival of the world’s greatest gift and miracle, there’s an opportunity to see the divine in the middle of our messy lives. It gives us the freedom to see that these are the conditions that our heavenly Father has no problem with stepping into to make the miraculous happen for us. We can disarm ourselves from this idea of a God in heaven, who only uses perfection and beauty to bring forth his gift through us. It doesn’t take a perfect picture; it takes a willing vessel submitted to the will of the Father.
As we hold space for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus not as these miraculous people but willing and obedient vessels that God chose to use, it invites us and our ordinary lives into miracle territory. As we challenge ourselves to see the complexities of this sacred story, we hope that you find freedom in embracing the impossibilities of your own life.
In fact, the situations in our lives that make us feel shame, disgrace, and too messy for a holy God to show himself in are actually the moments that he is more likely to appear when we surrender to him.
When we sober up and look at the reality of this story, we should begin to see that the perfect scenario for the miraculous to happen is actually more attainable than we sometimes realize. This lens gives us access to the humanity of the people in the Bible and even permits us the freedom to embrace our own life stories.
He was fully man, just like you and me.
As we pause this Christmas, we hope you will begin to see the challenging circumstances you face as opportunities for the miraculous to happen.
EMbrace the miracles and sacred moments
Our volunteers at the Dream Center, who find themselves serving under circumstances that aren’t always easy or glamorous to the natural eye, we say thank you for your willingness to create an atmosphere of miracles for others.
As we walk through the hallways of the Dream Center campus this Christmas and see the courageous men, women, and families walking through the messy, painful process of recovery and restoration, we choose to breathe in the holy yet messy resemblance to the birth of our Savior.
We embrace that holiness isn’t always halos, sacred gifts, and perfect scenarios that only work in paintings or movies. Holy moments, sacred moments, are also full of sweat, pain, tears, and uncomfortable circumstances.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.“
HEBREWS 4:15 ESV
We are so thankful and in awe of a Savior who put on flesh and understands our humanity’s pain and complexities, yet he overcame it all.
This Christmas season, we hold space for Jesus in his humanity. We choose to be intentional in our pursuit of recognizing the holiness in our pain and suffering as we press on to look more like Him each day.