Right now I feel like the epitome of the ragged holiday shopper/card writer/present wrapper/cookie baker/yada/yada/yada. It is now 3:00 in the afternoon and I was supposed to have posted this devotional by 5:00 a.m. this morning! Yikes!
So what can we who are madly racing about during the holidays get out of today’s passage? Well, after reading this a few times, and reading yesterday’s devotional and passage, I am seeing more and more the futility of the mad holiday race. When you read these passages, as yesterday’s writer points out, the spectacle is almost more than can be imagined. But then, in order to be worthy of the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world as we know it, it would have to be a super-sized event. With each generation, it becomes harder and harder to excite folks. Remember a few (?) years ago, when “Lost in Space” seemed like the end-all of high-tech T.V.? Those images would not stand a candle against today’s special effects and electronic wizardry. And yet, these passages that are thousands of years old, still conjure up awesome images, more than our 21st century minds can take in.
If that is what the end looks like, and I have every reason to believe it will, than what is even more breathtaking to me is the image of a little baby, wrapped in rags and lying in a dirty manger. Just as vivid as the scene in these passages from Revelations is the dark city of Bethlehem, lit only by the brightness of the star in the East. The young, confused, frightened, hungry, cold couple looking at this little baby who will turn the world on its ears, is a stark contrast to the enormous, awesome scenes in these passages. This comparison and contrast makes these two ends of the spectre even more astounding, tremendous and humbling.
Next time I race out to buy those stocking stuffers, or to mail the card I forgot to mail yesterday, or do any of the other hundred things that need to be done, I hope that I will pause and allow those images to come into my mind again and allow my breath to be taken by the contrasting images of these two scenes.