The Fragility and Power of Christmas: A Meditation for the Third Sunday of Advent

falling snowNebraska Christian College’s annual “Colors of Christmas” finished its three shows last night. It was outstanding. Kudos to Director John Chilcote and the fabulous students of the college, and thanks for letting me play my fiddle with you.

One of the songs seemed new to me, yet hauntingly familiar, “Winter Snow,” written by Audrey Assad. Assad who was featured in the Colors of Christmas show in 2010 as a guest artist and I’m pretty sure performed this song. It is a thoughtful, powerful song, very much like other Assad tunes that have become favorites of mine.

Assad’s lyrics ask a great Christmas question: why did the Son of God come to humankind in such a quiet, inauspicious way? Assad muses that the Christ could have come like a hurricane, a forest fire, a tidal wave, or a roaring flood. She also reflects on the possibility of other famous biblical ways God has chosen to reveal himself: a burning bush or a rushing wind.

But none of these spectacular modes of revelation were the choice of God. The story of Christmas is about God’s Son coming to be with us “like a winter snow,” quietly, in the night.

One of the great mysteries of Christmas is the humility and obscurity with which Christ came.

It was not in a royal setting. The palace of Herod in nearby Jerusalem was clueless about his birth until some visitors from the east came asking questions a couple of years later.

It was not in a wealthy setting. The baby was born among household farm animals. His first outfit was a improvised wrapping in scraps of cloth. His baby bed was a feeding trough borrowed from one of the animals.

It was not in a celebrity setting. Jesus’ mother was a young girl from an obscure village. Despite the many images of her we see giving her great beauty, she was likely very plain in appearance. Her husband was a skilled tradesman who made his living working with his hands. There were no viral youtubes about this birth. No parades. No round of interviews on the networks. No blogs. It was very private, very simple, very quiet.

And in this lies great power. This is what Audrey Assad understands, “soft and slow, like a winter snow.” The fragility and humility of Christmas.

Marvelous!

Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

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