My wife and I recently visited a glass and crystal museum. It was a personal collection in a private home, but open to the public. The owner and collector received our payment and introduced us to the guide who would take us around the home to see the thousands of items. We saw items made of glass by some of the earliest glass makers in ancient times, items that were simple and beautiful but cloudy and imperfect by our standards today. And we saw the progression as glass makers made new discoveries to make their pieces purer, more appealing to the eye and more playful in the light. Late items were completely transparent and multifaceted to scatter light in all its rainbow glory.
It's fascinating that something, like glass, as you make it purer and more perfect becomes more beautiful and tantalizing to the senses. Contrast that with the notion that some people have of holiness. The idea is that holiness (perfection, unlike anything else) is dull and uninteresting. Carried to its ultimate end, that idea means that God should be dull and uninteresting. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that Jesus Christ is God, that God has come into our world in order to speak directly to us of his love and truth and to rescue us from our own weakness and sin. Since I’m well aware of my own weakness and sin (I have daily reminders), I am fascinated by a God who would go to such great lengths to rescue an otherwise hopeless case like myself.
But as I look at the Bible’s accounts of Jesus coming to earth, I see a fascinating array of portrayals that make him “sparkle” with depth and relevance. Of course there is the account that is traditionally heard at Christmas time (and found in the Bible in a book called “Luke”) which describes his very humble beginnings (young, working class engaged couple, a manger and a stable) contrasted with angelic announcements. Then there’s the second most common account (found in the Bible in the book of “Matthew”) which describes the historical roots of God’s promise to send a saviour to the world and contrasts his humble beginnings with a kingly reception by wise men from far away. The other two books in the Bible that describe the life of Jesus don’t actually talk about his birth but the book of “John” describes his origins as eternal; he was there at creation and he was the creator! And then there’s the book of “Mark” in which Jesus’ entire early life is skipped over because the author, Mark, saw his ministry as inspiring us to action and he wanted to get to it!
In December at Westview we will be exploring facets of Jesus through the accounts of the four authors who introduce him to the world. And honestly, the birth of Jesus is just aspect of the life of the One who many call “Saviour.” How much have you looked into his life, his teaching, to see how relevant he is to you?