Not all of the details of life are pretty.
Certainly we know people whose lives fray with messy edges. Sometimes, we are those people. (Tweet that)
With time and perspective we notice things that we were unaware of at the time. Details are impossible to see all at once.
I know that sometimes I want to cut out the stuff that isn’t pretty, flattering, or seemingly useful. But I risk cutting out things that make up a vivid life upon closer inspection.
I’ll share an example: I came across this photo from a long ago family Christmas. Just an average snapshot of life for a regular family.
Certainly life was not all rosy for them.
And yet…yet, there is so much beauty that was certainly missed the first time this picture was viewed.
This picture hides many layers that seem to make an average shot, but there is more…
-I notice my grandma’s beauty. Shes about my current age here, all festive in red
-I see my aunt Kathy, only 11 years older than me. Just my daughter’s current age and I wonder how that could be! I remember how much care she gave to me as a child. Responsibility for me
-My grandparent’s three-legged Siamese cat Sammy lounges under the table, and I recall how I would rub that silky fur
-The tree in the corner, placed on a tiered stand my carpenter grandpa built
-Shiny little girl hair, once mine crowns a happy child’s head
-A high chair in the back would have held my younger cousins. I smile as I remember our antics and adventures
-Grandpa leans back in his chair, always the same chair…head of the table. In his everyday white t-shirt. He loved to watch the festivities on holidays
–Unseen? I know the layout of this house, though I haven’t seen it in a few decades. I see the black doorknobs and remember how the paint gathered near the old locks. The craftsman style built-in behind Grandpa. There was a pantry behind that wall. I remember the feel of the huge vent on the floor just to the left out of sight. How I would stand over it and watch it blow my clothing with delight. Behind us there would be a coffee table with delights only out at Christmas. A bowl of nuts, walnuts were my favorite. Ribbon candy.
There is so much unseen. An average home, a regular family. All playing parts in the fabric of my family tapestry.
There were frayed threads. Ugly spills.
Oh, but the final product. What beauty, what texture!
Don’t crop out the small things. They are building upon each other to capture something that isn’t finished yet.
Share this article with a friend. Let’s look closer, together.
A big thank you to James Prescott sharing his writing with us today…
How to Rediscover Jesus at Christmas
A major supermarket in the UK has recently begun it’s Christmas advertising campaign. The slogan they have adopted this year is ‘Christmas isn’t just one day”.
Every time I see it I feel a twinge of anger.
Now in a sense, Christmas isn’t just about one day. It’s about the fulfillment of an age-old prophecy, and the birth of a man whose life echoes through eternity.
But I suspect this isn’t what the advertisers are talking about.
The advert reminds me how much Jesus has been forgotten at Christmas. Him & His story have become at best a tradition, a sideshow, or even worse, completely ignored.
The way our culture treats Christmas, you may as well take the Christ out of the name. It may as well be called ‘The Winter Festival’ or ‘Consumermas’.
But you know what? Christmas is not about shopping. It’s not about the tree. It’s not about decorations. Those are all nice, I like them all (well, maybe not the shopping..).
But Christmas is about Christ. It’s about Jesus.
It’s about the fulfillment of God’s promise. A time to celebrate the love of a Father who gives up His own Son to save His people. About a Son who gave up eternity and all of Heaven, to become a poor son of a carpenter.
It’s a celebration of the truth God hasn’t forgotten us. It’s about the greatest gift of all.
The sad thing is, even as a Christian I can easily get so caught up in the consumer-Christmas aspects of the season I forget about Jesus. It’s why I love advent. It’s a season which, advent calendars aside, has largely been left unconsumerised.
Advent helps me connect again with the truth of the Christmas story. It gives me space to reflect on the hope, joy and peace which Jesus coming ultimately brings.
In many ways, Advent saves Christmas. Because as we prepare for the coming of Christ, we have our eyes opened again to why He came. We connect again with the true meaning of Christmas.
We rediscover the hope we have through Jesus.
We sense again the joy of His coming.
We are awakened again to the peace which transcends understanding.
So when Christmas Day comes, we are ready to celebrate the coming of the King.
All of us will be surrounded this season by adverts, messages selling us the consumer Christmas. At times we may struggle to hold on to the true reason for the season.
So this Christmas season, look for Jesus. Even in the midst of the consumer-driven rush.
Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, look for Jesus. In the shopping centre, when you’re decorating the tree and wrapping the presents.
Look for Jesus.
Jesus is there even in those moments, if want to find Him.
And then on Christmas Day, celebrate His birthday. Celebrate the coming of our Saviour.
Jesus is the reason for Christmas. No matter what consumerism says.
James Prescott is a writer & creative exploring digital media & our divine journey. He blogs regularly at http://www.jamesprescott.co.uk and is a regular guest blogger for various sites. Follow him on Twitter at @JamesPrescott77
Many thanks Anne for sharing your work with us…
What will you see this Christmas? by Anne Peterson
Christmas is coming. People experience it differently. It all depends on what they are looking at.
Listen carefully. If you’re really quiet, you can hear the gentle breathing of a baby. And in the distance, you can hear angels singing to both heaven and earth. Heralding a birth. You can hear it, can’t you? Read the rest of this entry
The yards are starting to be full again of light displays. Santas, reindeer, snowmen, and sometimes the Nativity scene. People like to discuss the merits and/ or shame of displaying Jesus in plastic.
Do we need an ad campaign proclaiming deity of Christ? Hark The Plastic Angels Sing?
I wonder if plastic lights and baubles, cartoonish caricatures help us remember Jesus and his entrance to His own humanity? Is it possible these things point us the truth of what Jesus actually DID for us?
The short answer, I believe, is yes.
Here is what we are faced with driving along, shopping along, listening along: SPEND, PROJECTED CONSUMER SPENDING, $$$, SANTA, CONSUMERISM, jesus, SANTA, PARTIES, jesus, BUY GIFTS, PLAN THE BEST PARTIES, jesus, MY WISH LIST.
The gift is so huge, so outlandish, that we almost miss it. We are so used to hearing the story of Jesus’ birth, that we can lose out on the ridiculously grandiose gift ever given.
Those little plastic beacons of remembrance, however tacky and commercialized, still remind us and the homeowners what the holiday is about. Jesus. I would offer than anything that gives us pause to remember this, is good.
If you don’t know the story, Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20. Please note the additional details offered, and try reading different versions to understand the context of what was truly at stake. I pray that you, in fact I am praying for you as I write this, will join me in remembering the gift.
I have been reading a book by David Jeremiah called Why the Nativity? I have plenty of books about Christmas and wasn’t expecting to learn so much. In truth, I learned more about Christmas, the heart of it, in this small book than in all of my 41 years of life. It asked, and answered, questions I didn’t even realize I was missing. The kids even read through the short chapters as Bible time this month. That good, and surprisingly something I picked up off a sale rack a few years ago. This year I hope to follow the directive of this author, “staying busy with the work of Heaven.”