"The whole of Christ's life was a continual passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas day and his Good Friday were but the morning and the evening of one and the same day. From creche to cross is an inseparable line. Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter. It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death." John Donne
Recently I did a three piece series of paintings for a friend's birthday. This is the third in the series. Of all three paintings I spent the most time on this one and found myself meditating and worshiping as I painted. I was struck throughout the series of the use of wood and straw and how even that seemed to turn against Christ even though it provided shelter and protection for the rest of creation.
"And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:58
The fox has found shelter under a tree and the bird weaves together twigs and vines have her young. God has provided for his creation with the same material that causes suffering and displays Christ's death. Rather than shelter and comfort, a crown of thorns that ripped into his flesh and a tree upon which to die.
"The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him." John 1:9,10
From the straw and wood, basic things of creation, to the people, Christ in all his glory was rejected.
AND YET, he came, he lived, he suffered, and he conquered death.
"He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1: 11-13
Amazing Love! All for me and for you and for all who confess His name to be adopted as children of God.
A great read for this advent season! The John Donne quote at the top of this post came from this little jewel.