On a journey from New Mexico, my husband and I watched for Christmas décor at homes and businesses. Most of our travel took place during the day, and 400 miles of the trip we were surrounded by fog, a mix thick as clouds or at other times thin as tea kettle steam.
When night fell, one display glowed high above the interstate. As we neared a radio tower the hazy outline of a cross appeared. Even parallel with the lighted cross, it did not emerge “midnight-clear.” The cross remained shrouded by fog.
The fogged in cross made me think of the mystery that often accompanied The Christ on his earth-journey. Wonder surrounded Jesus’ birth. Born of a virgin, who conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus came into the world through God’s plan, not man’s desire.
Luke told how Mary treasured the events of Jesus’ birth and “pondered them in her heart” (2:19). Prophet Simon said to Mary that Jesus would cause the “thoughts of many hearts to be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul, too” (Luke 2:35)? Was she ever unsure, uncertain?
Choreographed by God, Jesus’ birth announcement filled a nighttime sky. The Bethlehem welcoming committee hurried to town from a pasture not a palace. God’s Son didn’t have a silver rattle. Instead, he rested in a hay-manger.
The forecast didn’t clear much when Jesus began his ministry. A corrupt government had caused Jewish citizens to long for a political deliverer. Office holders didn’t want a newbie-leader in government or synagogue. Jesus cleared the air a little when he said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
By the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, a small group began to comprehend, to see in Jesus, a soul-savior. He didn’t want a signet ring and purple robe. He stepped into everyday life to assist the neediest.
This king of hearts touched foul flesh, sat in fishing boats, rebuked the haughty and cradled children on his lap. He washed feet, forgave murderous sins, and healed bad reputations. For believers, the fog began to lift.
Jesus was not what we expected.
Jesus was what we needed.
Christmas-signs say “Believe.” I’m pretty sure the red glittery messages refer to Santa, a figment of imaginations, but the word can remind of an ultimate belief.
When Nicodemus sought to understand Jesus better, Jesus told about a key ingredient for clearer understanding, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
From heaven’s porch, God’s plan for salvation could be seen with clarity. From earth’s footstool, things looked a bit foggy as to the outcome. But, through the biblical account, this blessed generation has a more complete picture of prophecy and promises fulfilled. On the trail—from manger to cross—belief that Jesus is the Son of God has caused the fog to lift.