A Change of Christmas Heart…
I really needed a change of heart… About Christmas that is.
You see, I had never liked it very much… It was more plastic than real… and when faith in Christ became real in my heart, the exteriors of the Christmas season didn’t mean all that much to me…
Until I met my wife—and in her family, the tree was real, the decorations were handmade, the family would gather and sing of their love of the Lord, they would gently tease each other, they would read “the Night Before Christmas” in Donald Duck, and, most importantly, they would read the Bible every Christmas. They had all kinds of thoughtful presents. No one was trying to pretend they were something when they were not. They were just themselves—and little bit more so at the festival of Christmas.
And so, in time my heart changed…
One year, we were on a bit of a holiday. And we saw a lovely ceramic nativity. We both liked it, and bought it, though it was a bit pricey, because somehow that set “spoke” about the beauty of the season. Now here was the miracle: for the first time, it was my idea to do something to celebrate the season, not hers…
So that set became important to us—because it represented my change of heart.
Now here is what happened to it—during a move one of the hands of a Wise Man was jostled and broke off. When we unpacked it for Christmas we were more than a bit disappointed. It was the fact that it was our first Christmas purchase together that made it special—even more that it came from my change of heart.
So, I got myself some high-powered glue, followed the glue directions to a tee, and reattached the hand of the wise man, by holding it securely in place for a good two hours.
Now I didn’t notice, nor did my family notice—not at first. Then my son, who is quite an artist, well, he looked at it and started to laugh.
I glued the hand on upside down!
Then we all laughed—and realized that it was a kind of metaphor of how we walk with God. When we try and repair the damage of our lives, the best that we can manage is to repair it the wrong way. So now that nativity, precious to us because it came out of my changed heart has taken on a newer meaning—
God came to repair our broken world—
and He does a much better repair that me!
Now we have another nativity set. It was given to us just after we got married—when my attitude toward the season needed adjusting.
That set helped me rethink the meaning of Christmas—and let me tell you why.
If you were able to look closely you would see that it is made of things that people threw away—scraps of cloth, a coffee creamer, a piece of tossed off plastic.
There was a lady in our church who was an artist—and she had an eye for the intrinsic beauty of scraps and throw-away items. In her hands, the tossed away became things of beauty…
The lady who made this set, took throw away pieces of cloth, used bits of plastic, a bit of Styrofoam, and some spray paint, even a toothpick or two. In the hands of that artist, these thrown away items have become a thing of beauty.
This nativity tells us that God can take our broken lives, our tossed away threads of what might have been, our wasted efforts, anything we have broken or thrown away, and turn them into a testimony of how God makes things that are broken beautiful again.
Christmas is about how God takes the people who feel tossed aside, thrown away, shunned by the crowd, and gathers them to make them into something that is lovely, God makes us into those who shine with His beauty.
That is why He came. And that is why we love him—because He first loved us. Somehow at Christmas time, the words of the apostle John take on special meaning:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God…. In this was the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only son into the world so that we might have life through him. 1 John 4:7 & 9 NASB
He takes the broken fragments of our lives and makes what seems worthless into a life that points to Him.
© David Chotka Christmas, 2020