As always, I'm experimenting with different lighting, etc., to get interesting shots of our sanctuary's Christmas decorations. When someone got a large nativity set for the baptistry there was a little discussion about whether to cover the cross, perhaps to put up a star, and I think we did do that one year, but I like having the cross up there. I put a red filter on the church spotlight and got this effect. (For more pictures of our decorations go to:http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2058548&id=1533128561&l=4c0b486e42)
We as Christ-followers can easily get so caught up in Christmas traditions that we subconsciously separate Christ's birth from His purpose in coming, which included His eventual death as a sacrifice for our sin. In Luke 2, when Simeon blessed the child in the temple because God had promised him that he would not die without seeing the Messiah, he was not all sweetness and light.
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:29-35
What had happened to Mary was miraculous beyond comprehension, but her son's journey would not be without pain (immense pain), and she would experience pain on the journey, too. This picture also reminds me of the words of the angelic messenger in Luke 2:10,11: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. There could be no Savior without a cross, so may part of your Christmas celebration be thanksgiving that Christ came not just to give us the ultimate Christmas story, but to save us from our sin! Click on the video to see/hear one of my favorite Christmas songs by Go Fish: