Christmas: The Good, the Bad, and the Pretty

Davalynn Spencer

by Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer

We have St. Francis of Assisi to thank for our modern Christmas imagery. Nearly 800 years ago near Greccio, Francis staged a living nativity scene to draw attention to the birth of Christ and away from the secular materialism of the day.

He was on to something.

However, when I study my personal collection of manger scenes, I discover not a newborn child, but one with a head of wavy hair, arms lifted as if in blessing, and an angelic smile kissing his features.

Those of us who have seen newborns know this is not an accurate portrayal. Nor is it necessarily biblical.

Scripture tells us that Mary “wrapped him in swaddling clothes …” which means she wrapped her child tightly in cloths, a technique still used around the world today to comfort a newborn.

But we want beautiful imagery, not realism, right?

My jewelry collection contains several cross earrings and necklaces. The imagery reminds me of Jesus, but it certainly doesn’t portray his suffering or the ugliness of the death tree upon which he hung.

The picturesque crown of thorns I display at Easter brings to mind the twisted brambles shoved upon the Savior’s brow in mockery. But not one point is stained with blood.

This year, the imagery all came together for me.

Christmas is my favorite holiday because it flaunts the defeat of our enemy by the small, pudgy fist of a newborn. Jesus at His most vulnerable point could not be bested by Satan.

This fact reminds me that in spite of what the enemy or circumstances hurl at my life, God is still in control. He’s got this.

Let that tiny, pudgy fist that bore the nails bear your burdens as well.

Joy to you this Christmas!

If you enjoy Christmas music as much as I, check out this spectacular version of “Mary Did You Know” by Peter Hollens.

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