The weather forecast called for a “chance of flurries.” A chance? Personally, I think if you’re going to make a weather prediction, don’t be so wishy-washy. Be bold; don’t be afraid to walk the line. Look right into that camera, grit your teeth, and come right out and say, “It’s going to snow today, or I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” Too many things are left to chance as it is. When it comes to the Christmas season, a flurry is one thing we can always count on. That is, a constant flurry of activities.
Card writing, tree decorating, cookie baking, gift wrapping, and Mall Santa avoiding are just some of the activities that consume our lives during the month of December. Even “The 12 Days of Christmas” reminds me of someone frenetically double checking their Christmas gift list at the last minute. Okay, I’ve got 12 drummers drumming, 11 pipers piping, 10 lords a-leaping….oh, that’s just great. I forgot the swans! Where am I going to find swans this time of year?
To all of the joyful celebration and festivity of Christmastime, there must be a contrast. Even the night of Jesus’ birth had marked contrasts. When the angel first appeared to the shepherds that night, the Lord’s glory shone around them. This light was far more effective when shining against the dark sky. A brightly lit Christmas tree is much more appreciated at night, when the lights glow like ribbons of colorful candies melting in mid-air.
If the great company of the heavenly host had appeared during the noisy bustle of daytime activities, they would not have made such a dramatic appearance. Their praise was highlighted against the relative peace of nighttime sheep watching. I am assuming the shepherds had been somewhat quiet, unless this was their weekly karaoke night. It seems to me there are an awful lot of songs about sheep, and maybe this is where it all began.
Emcee: And now give a warm welcome to Shepherd Bob, who will entertain us with “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” (sparse applause.)
Rowdy Shepherd: Woohoo! Bob rocks!
Emcee: Have you been drinking the sheep’s milk again?
(Angel suddenly appears.)
Emcee: Welcome to Shepherd Karaoke! What song would you like to do?
Angel: Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy!
Emcee: (awkwardly leafing through song sheets) Um, I don’t think we have that song…
After the shepherds visited the newborn Jesus, they ran about praising God and spreading the news. The announcement of the birth of the Messiah brought amazement and elation to the people, and they celebrated joyfully. But not Mary. She “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Her contemplative mood is noticeable against the backdrop of commotion. Mary seemed to understand something beyond the external pleasures of the moment. While we are so good at the celebration side of Christmas, we could all use more time pondering the one true gift Mary held in her arms.
The Bible is a piece of art in which God’s thoughts are painted together in a colorful mosaic of words. Like a masterpiece, He described Christ’s birth by contrasting darkness with light, peace with commotion, and celebration with quiet reflection. These elements all work together in a beautiful tapestry to highlight perhaps the greatest contrast of all: the savior of all mankind found in the form of a tiny, newborn baby. A baby, by the way, who left absolutely nothing to chance, but put everything in the hands of his Father.