The Glitter and Tinsel of Bethlehem

We don’t even know what to do with the Nativity story (Lk. 2:1-20). We never have. We’ve romanticized it for the children and glittered it in such a way that they might somehow think it’s wonderful to be born among cows, in the dark and in the cold.

What else can you do with the King in such obscure and raw beginnings? But we do our children and our own hearts a disfavor when we sweeten the surroundings of that night in Bethlehem. For it wasn’t the stable and the straw that was sweet but the One who was born and lying in the midst of it. The glitter comes not with making the mean estate He was born into inviting, but by realizing just who it was there in that straw and just what such an entrance conveys of Him. That’s when our hearts start unraveling.

When we see that this Baby was the Lord of all, that He was Maker and Ruler from the beginning as John says, then the glitter comes in His choice to make the humble and forgotten His own family, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh (John 1:1, 14; Eph. 5:30). The arms of the Lord Himself spread wide to us and we finally realize just how near He wants us. We finally let down the guards of our hearts for He has come not to our kings but to our shepherds, not to our rich but to our poor, which when we’re honest, we realize is all of humanity.

He chose to come into our dark corners and there be born and grow up. God has come into humanity’s very lowest obscurity and when He did, He did not stiffen with disgust but rested His head in peace and love. This is so much more than glitter and tinsel. It is the radiance of the Father’s glory and the beauty of God Himself piercing the darkness of Bethlehem’s night (2 Cor. 4:6; Heb. 1:3).

And if we stay here long enough, the brightness will pierce our own hearts.