By Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse:
Luke 2:7—And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NKJV)
We were putting ornaments on the tree last weekend and enjoying a really great Mercy Me Christmas CD to set the festive tone. A nifty, upbeat rendition of “Silent Night” came on and I remember thinking how interesting it was that the music score was so “jazzy” for such a peaceful, mellow song. It turns out, though, it didn’t lessen the impact for my son.
When the line “Round ‘yon virgin, mother and child, Holy infant so tender and mild” played, he commented, “That part always breaks my heart.”
Shane said, “What breaks your heart, Buddy?”
“That mother and child part. Because I can picture it.”
“Does it make you sad or do you mean that it warms your heart?” I asked.
“Yeah, maybe warms my heart. It always does every time I hear or sing it, even at school.”
Shane said something to him about how sensitive and special that was but I didn’t get his exact words because I’d had to kick into self-composure mode. I guess you could say his reaction “broke my heart” too, in such a sweet, pure way. He knew something was going on in his heart; he just couldn’t quite put it into words.
Hearing Skylar’s reaction to the song reminded me of an ornament that my family had gotten when I was about his age. It was a round, flat, clear piece of acrylic that had Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus etched in the center. I loved holding it in front of the different colored Christmas lights to see which color looked best coming through it. Blue was nice because it recreated the nighttime aspect of the birth. Green was cool because it seemed so calm. Pink made me think of how Mary’s heart must’ve “felt.” But oh, that white. When I held it up in front of a white light, it just radiated with purity and righteousness. And just like Skylar, I couldn’t put into adequate words what that did to my heart.
Isn’t it awesome that God chose to reveal to the world his beloved son—our savior and redeemer, the Word made flesh—within that tender “mother and child” scenario? That the Lord of Lords and King of the Ages nestled in his mama’s arms as she pondered and treasured in her heart what all of this meant?
What if the Bible had merely said, “Jesus was born. Then at the age of 30 he…” What if all the vividly beautiful details hadn’t been recorded? What if we weren’t told of the swaddling clothes, the lowing of the cattle, the awestruck shepherds, the humble manger, and the mesmerizing star?
Praise God for his beautiful unveiling! What a flawless, purposefully chosen means of introducing his son. Humble beginnings foreshadow the ultimate humility later to come. But the visit of the Magi and their precious gifts signify that the baby would one day rule over nations. The quiet manger, away from the chaotic crowds of people, seems a fitting environment for the Prince of Peace. Further, the shepherds’ fear and excitement to go and worship offers a glimpse of the reaction of other believers of the message for generations to come.
How truly perfect. Can you put into words what that does to your heart?
Father God, how like you to carefully plan every lovely detail about our Savior’s birth, each one a unique revelation about him and his purpose. Thank you for that and for “breaking our hearts” and quickening our spirits as we contemplate the simple serenity and peace and wonder at that miraculous birth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Application: Listen to different versions of your favorite nativity songs and hymns and allow your heart to be “broken” as you rejoice in the birth of our savior. ("Joseph's Lullaby" on Mercy Me's Christmas CD is guaranteed to make you crumble!) Also read Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 1 and 2, savoring every telling detail, especially how Mary treasured these things in her heart.
Matt.2:10-11 (NLT)—When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Luke 2:15-20 (MSG)—As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!