The birth of Christ provides a strong reason for us to experience holy fear and trembling, for only because of that birth could Christ become man and later die. Even though He was free from sin, He took upon Himself a mortal body—and that should make us marvel. That He who is God was willing to become man, that He accommodated Himself to our weakness and came down to our level, is too great for our minds to grasp. It makes us shudder with the deepest holy fear; it fills us with terror and trembling.
When my son, Jonathan, was 17, he brought home an ornament to go on the Christmas tree. He had seen it in a store, and went back to get it. It was a very beautiful ornament, but the story behind it made it even more special. It was a hand-blown glass ball, with beautiful scenes hand-painted on the inside.
Somewhere on the ornament, the artist has placed his initials and the date of painting. On a card inside the box were printed these words:
The "Li Bien" Ornament
In Chinese, the phrase "Li Bien" means "inside." The Li Bien Ornament showcases the age-old skill of inside painting. Through a small opening in the ornament, the artist repeatedly inserts a miniature brush to paint the artwork. The process is painstaking and time consuming requiring two days to paint each ornament. The resulting ornament is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind keepsake you'll treasure for years to come.
Our lives are hand-crafted, too--by God's own hand. For the Christian, any beauty we may have must come from the inside as well. With exquisite skill and intricate detail, our Father has fashioned our lives. With the brush of the Holy Spirit, He has not only initialed our hearts, but has given us an entirely New Name. And we will treasure our relationship to Christ for all of eternity!
–Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com
There is a curious tradition among the Russian peasantry. It is said that an old woman, called the Baboushka, was at work in her house when the wise men from the East passed on their way to find the Christ child. “Come with us,” they said. “We have seen His star in the east and go to worship Him.” “I will come, but not now,” she answered. “I have my house to set in order; when this is done I will follow and find Him.”
But when her work was done the wise men had passed on their way across the desert, and the star shone no more in the darkened heavens. She never saw the Christ child, but the tradition says that the Baboushka is living still, and still she is searching for Him.
For His sake, the tradition says, she takes care of all Christ’s children. It is she who in Russian and Italian houses is believed to fill the stockings and dress the tree on Christmas morning. The children are awakened by the cry of “Behold the Baboushka!” and the children spring up hoping to see her before she vanishes out of the window. The Baboushka believes that in each poor little one she warms and feeds, she may find the Christ child, whom she neglected ages ago.
Are you like the Baboushka? Have you neglected the worship of Christ in your Christmas preparations?
Dr. Rocky Henriques is the Pastor of Utica Baptist Church in Utica, Mississippi.