Christmas is a beautiful time of year, one that prompts giving, singing, family gatherings, and worship of our Savior born in Bethlehem. Contemplating these things, I wrote an article for our church newsletter that The Gospel Coalition also ran on God’s hidden beauty revealed at Christmas.
To give a little backstory, I wrote it on a day when I had walked through the aisles of Wal-Mart and sadly had a bah-humbug spirit. Surrounded by God’s image-bearers my sinful heart was not loving my neighbor. It was simply wanting to get in, get out, and get done with what I had to do. Such an attitude is sinful and selfish, and it stems from a vision problem–I was not seeing the people around the way Christ sees them.
Accordingly, I wrote the piece “Beholding the Beauty of Christ in Wal-Mart” as a means of preaching the gospel to myself. I need the gospel everyday to remind me of my ugliness before the Lord, and how in Christ he has showered his beautiful grace on me. If there is anything good in me, it is from the Lord (John 15:5; 1 Cor 4:7). Prayerfully, such amazing love and forgiveness will result in greater love for others.
As I walked out of Wal-Mart that day, I was confronted with the ugliness of my un-love. I still groan over the fact that I am drawn to worldly beauty more than heavenly beauty, and that this causes me to slight people and make much of me. Ugh! I praying that God would continue to renew my mind and change my heart, and I to do so, I keep looking to the person and work of Christ. He alone is beautiful, and in his light we see light. As we behold him, we become like him. I wrote this article for that reason, and I share it with you that you might benefit too.
Here is how it begins,
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so the old saying goes. Just the same, we choose to behold (read: pursue and acquire) what we think is beautiful. Unfortunately, for so many of us, we have given little attention to what the Bible says about beauty. While Christians may have read the Bible for years, I wonder, when it comes to beauty, how many of us have been shaped by magazine covers, movies, and prom nights more than God’s inspired Word? Christmas may be one exception.
Repentant and Repenting, dss