All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:22-23
Husband Paul remembers this particular piece of artwork as having a long history at his house. It hangs on our wall and is a favorite of mine. It’s more than a tiny ceramic baby on a piece of driftwood; it hints at the bigger story of Christmas. The swaddled baby has its arms outstretched, and is strategically placed to allow a mark on the wood to give the appearance of a halo, perhaps even a crown of thorns.
When the light is right, the baby’s arms cast a shadow envisaging the crucifixion. This piece expresses tenderness, agony and victory, leaving our emotional sense a bit overwhelmed. How can the helpless cry of an infant grow into the intense unwavering desire to take on the sin of the world? These tiny arms welcome us into the family of God in a startling message of truth and power.
Babies remind us of new life and hope for a better future. Every parent gazes at a newborn and imagines the possibilities of accomplishment, kindness, bravery, and joy. Mary and Joseph must have gazed on Baby Jesus in the same way, but now we know the bigger story.
The cross reminds us that hope is useless unless grounded in the saving work of Jesus. The stories of our lives on earth, while filled with all manner of events and emotions, are not sources of hope. Our hope springs from the tiny babe with outstretched arms who will one day carry the burden of our sin to a different piece of wood. This is the source of our Christmas joy. This is the story of our hope, our faith, and our Salvation.
May the smaller parts of your life story continually point you toward the bigger story of Christmas, And may the events of each day find a way to remind you of God’s perfect love.