My Christmas card - Warning: Seasonal Religious Message!
Do not read if you are easily offended by the word Christmas, or what the Christmas celebration represents. If you are expecting a celebratory note about the wondrous winter solstice festivus, read no further. You will be disappointed.
This Christmas card is rated RG-M - Religious Guidance recommended. For mature audiences.
This Christmas, like every Christmas, it’s best to try to push out the commercial world and welcome in the real reason for the celebration. That isn’t always easy! The world, and commercialism, is an ever-encroaching thing that never ends.
Also never-ending is the hue and cry to remove Christ from the Christmas season. But Christmas is not a holiday. Christmas is a celebration! As the Happy Holidays people become more abundant, and the Merry Christmas people less, the meaning of what it is we celebrate becomes more watered down.
And as that happens, the great thing that was the birth of a Savior, so accompanied with predicted signs, and fulfilled with events of wonderment, is even now fading in understanding. The holiday that celebrates His foretold birth has become a shopping-deal event. The celebration will lose further importance unless we Christians hold Him up as a light before others, as He held Himself up as The Light of the World. We must take upon us His name, and always remember Him.
So what of this foretold birth? It happened in the most humble of places and the most normal of ways. A couple nearly torn apart by an unexpected circumstance, was held together by receiving divine understanding. The marriage they both desired happened, and the baby that they found themselves anticipating was born.
Contemplate the gentle scene here. It depicts Mary as the youth she was. In her day young women betrothed and were married not long after reaching puberty. She was pregnant at a very young age. The couple perhaps had little in the way of worldly things, and during a difficult trip the scripture makes it seem like they found themselves traveling without much provision when she gave birth.
Notice the baby’s clothing. The scripture calls it “swaddling clothes.” To those who don’t understand the word, and consider that it might mean something chic and trendy, the word swaddling actually means tightly-wrapped rags. Jesus was dressed as humbly as humble can be. His first bed was hay in a trough where farm animals eat. The chic and trendy word for that is “manger.”
Jesus had a well-rounded childhood. We read, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2: 52) Today we would call that mental, physical, spiritual, and social development. Jesus understood His calling from a young age. He paid attention to everything.
When I show the sketch on the right to people, they instinctively say it is Jesus healing the blind man. Which? There are four different such stories in the New Testament, but it doesn’t matter – that is indeed what it depicts.
What do you see? Look closely. Imagine being blind from birth. Close your eyes. The zillions of points of light that you see are from optic nerve stimulation. Blind people probably don’t see that. Without such stimulation they likely see black. Now open your eyes and imagine that the first thing you see is the Savior of the world. But you don’t know that. What you see a kindly, smiling, loving face. You have never seen anything before, and that face, His face, is what you see first.
Look again. Close your eyes, and with your left hand grab your right wrist and squeeze hard. Open your eyes and look at your left hand. Now look again at the sketch. The now healed blind man is visibly moved. White knuckled, he is squeezing hard! His gratitude is obvious and it becomes permanent.
May we all grab Him and squeeze hard. May we all look with our own eyes in gratitude, and reciprocate His love. May we all remember our title as Christian.
May this Christmas, and your new year, be filled with family, personal growth, success, love, the Golden Rule, and good tidings that last all year long. Merry Christmas!
The artist for the painting and the sketch is Liz Lemon Swindle.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560