My criteria for who and what and where I spend my time online and on social media has always held certain parameters. I named it more specifically in this way.
What I’m following must be helpful, hopeful, or beautiful.
We become consumed by what we consume. Every so often I reassess. What once was helpful may not be so much anymore. If something becomes more doom and gloom than hope for the hurting, it’s time for me to step away. If something tries to lump everyone in the same box, tries to fix, shame, or guilt, I don’t have space for this in my life. The voices in my head do this well enough on their own.
We thrive when we live loved. When we remember who God says we are. I don’t do this all that well, but it is my ideal.
Christmas is all about help, hope, and beauty.
Mary and Joseph needed help. They were far from home. They needed shelter. They needed a place to welcome their newborn firstborn. He, who would bring help, hope, and beauty.
The wise men needed help. They asked for directions. They knew the why of their journey but weren’t quite sure of the final destination. We know the why of our journey and we know the beauty of our final destination. But often along the way we need help and hope breathed into our lives.
The angels sang hope in a glorious burst of beauty. Help and Hope! A Savior who is Christ the Lord.
There’s no innkeeper listed in the Bible, but I do love imagination and creativity, and we do know the workings of life and interactions with people in communities. It’s quite plausible that an innkeeper or other people offered Joseph and Mary shelter. People are good at helping. Perhaps it was only Joseph to assist Mary in the birth, but I tend to think it quite likely that there was a midwife or doctor or a few women who showed up when help was needed.
The shepherds heard hope. A quiet night, sheep gathered around, a fire crackling. Suddenly the velvet sky was cracked open in tremendous beauty never announced before.
King Herod knew not help, hope, or beauty. Surrounded by opulence, living in the lap of luxury, wearing beautiful robes, yet he missed it entirely. His soul was shriveled into selfishness, suspicion, and self-preservation. All the same, a Savior had come for him too.
A star shown beauty and light and direction. It silently shouted hope to a waiting world.
Where do I find myself in this story? What hurt have I been carrying for far too long? What heaviness could be lightened a bit by remembering the hope within me? Where might I shine light and beauty to offer help and hope to one fellow comrade on this journey too?
Is there any wonder like a baby? They are completely helpless. They are absolutely beautiful. A tiny new being, fashioned in their mother’s womb, stamped with the image of our Creator God. We see hope in new life. We hope and dream for what life will hold for these little people. We look forward to getting to know who they are. It’s demanding. The caring and the nurturing and the loving. It pulls much from us, it shines magnificent.
Jesus, in humble fashion, said, “I’ll wear flesh. I’ll enter the womb of a mother.
I’ll wait nine months. I’ll enter a world wanting hope.
I’ll become helpless to help the helpless. I’ll live and grow in quiet obscurity.
It won’t make sense. But when does extravagant love ever make sense?
I’ll marvel at a sunrise and run a footrace and haul water from the well.
I was there when the sun was created, and I formed muscles and sinew and cartilage for movement, and I will provide living water that quenches thirst forever.
I’ll taste sorrow and temptation, tread through trials and sad places, so I can empathize with the suffering and show compassion to those cast out.
I am coming in the Name of Love and Beauty and I carry Help and Hope for everyone.”