Do you remember the kaleidoscopes you got as a child? You held the long tube up to the light and looked through to see a myriad of colors at the other end. Then you twisted the tube, the colors changing shapes and designs, with new colors replacing the old ones. It never looked the same way twice.
Christmas is much like that. There’s the green of the Christmas tree itself, as well as wreaths and holly. And don’t forget the mistletoe! Green brings freshness into the staleness of our everyday life. The mundane gets replaced by having a tree in the corner of the living room. What a concept! So it can be with our spirit. Life-as-usual is replaced with the realization that the freshness of Christ Himself came to dwell with man, right in the corner of our living room!
Red lifts our spirits and gladdens our hearts. It’s found in ribbons and bows that wrap around a gift. Isn’t it fun to get presents from our children, spouse, or friends? We place them under the tree, waiting for the right moment to untie the red ribbon and see what lies within. So it is with God’s gift to us. In the fullness of time He presented His gift, the gift of His only son. We can leave that present under the tree, simply admiring its beauty, or we can touch the blood-red ribbon He wrapped the gift with, and open the mystery waiting inside.
Then there’s the beautiful blue that offsets and contrasts with the other Christmas colors. Blue can have a very calming effect on people, and we all know we need a heaping serving of serenity at this time of the year. Though we want everything to be perfect, we have to realize we can’t make that happen. Only God was able to do that.
Think about it—take the stress surrounding the census, a nearly 100-mile donkey trip, a husband who refused to make motel reservations, and a KOA campground that was severely lacking in amenities, and you have the stress surrounding Mary at the time of the first Christmas. I wonder how she was feeling and speaking as she made that long, uncomfortable trip. Was she serene, sitting on the bony back of a donkey mile after mile, a beatific smile on her face, already posing for all the Christmas cards that would grace people’s mantels a couple thousand years later?
Or was she griping like I would have been? "Joseph, are we there yet? My back is killing me. Yes, I’m sure you would have preferred to leave me home with my mother, but a wife’s supposed to follow her husband, you know! Griping? I’ll show you griping! If you think it’s so easy, you try doing this when you’re nine months pregnant!"
The Bible doesn’t record any of that. But what we do know is that Emmanuel, God With Us, joined Mary and Joseph in the midst of their discomfort, fears, uncertainty, economic unrest, and distance from family. Ever been in that place? Isn’t it comforting to know we’re not left to muddle through on our own, but that the very Lord of Heaven walks along beside us?
Silver and gold remind us of the royalty of Christ. Though He came as the babe in the manger, He will return as the conquering king. Every knee will bow before Him in recognition of who He truly is and what He has done for mankind. May we, this Christmas season, look around and see Jesus in the world around us. We don’t have to wait until He comes back.