12.22.2017

Christmas 2017: Gentleness in a Jarring World

“...unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
-Luke 2:11–12


People I talk to seem to agree this year’s headlines have felt more than a little jarring. Watching disaster, scandal and tragedy unfold, with something new and often unexpected each week, leaves us wondering what could happen next. The realm of social media seems to argue at every turn of events, seeking someone to blame, making the collective experience that much worse. There’s nothing gentle in the way the world is trending.

All this has me considering the unexpected gentleness of what Christians celebrate at Christmas. God Himself comes into the world, very personally present. But He doesn’t come with a great amount of fanfare. There’s certainly some, especially as angels make their announcement, partly quoted above, to initially shaken shepherds, but even this isn’t a widespread broadcast.

What’s more, who do they run off to find? A very unintimidating newborn baby. And where do they find Him? Among animals off the beaten path in an overcrowded city, where the family aren’t exactly expecting visitors.

Even a few years later when men from the East show up to find the same child, they locate Him by way of astronomy, an unusual celestial event perhaps unnoticed by many. It’s not until they inquire of the local authority that someone takes new notice, and in a jarring act of jealousy tries to end his perceived competition.

Clearly if the God of all creation wanted to enter the world, He could have done so any way He chose. Yet He chose this way, coming not as some angry, destroying deity, but one humble and helpless, protected by others in a dangerous world. This is the picture of the Mighty God who is the Prince of Peace, one who grew up like us and can personally relate to us, one who would subject Himself to evil and even death so we could know God. Jesus gives us the ultimate picture of gentleness in a world that’s increasingly jarring.

Perhaps more unexpectedly, He invites us to know true gentleness, to know peace through Him, even in our world today. In Matthew 11, Jesus gives an invitation, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” This is far more than just a break from crazy headlines. For anyone who trusts Him, Jesus is offering rest from the weights and struggles each one of us carries inside. To truly know Him is to know peace with God, and to receive all He’s ready to give.

Praying this holiday season you discover new hope through the gentleness of Jesus.

(Scripture: ESV • Art: unsplash.com)

2 comments:

Tom Pflederer said...

Beautifully written, Sarah. Thank you!

Jay Hotchkiss said...

Amen, Sarah. Merry Christmas!