Are we sanitizing Christmas?
Elva McAllister wrote a powerful and insightful Christmas poem called “On Fragrant Hay.” In it, she shines light on our attempts to sanitize that first Christmas in our art re-creations of the scene. In doing so, we distort reality and minimize the breathtaking humility and awesome grace of God as He willingly comes into our messy, fallen world.
"'Sweet infant,' trills the smiling choir. 'He sleeps on fragrant hay.' And Christmas card Madonnas smirk all thoughts of pain away. How was it really when He came? Did Mary moan and scream and grind her teeth and retch (Poor wretch) before His star could gleam its gleam above that inn yard barn? He slept on fragrant hay? Perhaps. But sheep and cows were not made then of plastic, nor of Styrofoam and paint. Half-rotten straws and stinking wet manure were surely winter odors Joseph smelled, not sweet new hay, nor clover blossoms. No dainty crèche had been prepared and kept detached from stench of urine-mingled mud where ox feet stood, where ox teeth chewed or dribbled fodder. God did not come to antiseptic scented neatness, but to a winter barnyard’s muck and filth. God always comes; to things as they are and not to wished-for rearrangements of the facts.”
Let’s welcome Jesus anew into our messy lives and let Him bring His order, His cleansing and His Life into ours! Also, during this time of year people are more open to talking about the meaning of life and about Christ. Jesus will lead us, if we are willing to follow.
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