I guess one could say that I’m full of the Christmas Spirit. My heart is overwhelmed with the reality of this day of Christ’s birth and I’m on a mission to keep the truth of Christmas freshly alive and active in the forefront of my mind.
Today I invite you into the crux of the matter, the very reason Christmas shows up in the universe. Read on as Paul Tripp gives us another glimpse of the Christmas Story, “the worst and the best thing that ever happened”:
“It’s so easy with all the lights and the decorations, and the family gatherings and the cookies, to forget what the scene was like that first Christmas. Really, what happened was, glory collided with tragedy. Unimaginable glory came to earth. God became flesh. Angels actually announced this birth of the hope of the universe.
At the same time, King Herod, scared to death of his own political power, was planning the slaughter of countless infants.
Glory connecting with tragedy, and that’s really the Biblical story—the glory of God’s Presence; the glory of God’s Promises; the glory of God’s Grace collides with the tragedy of sin. Countless moments of suffering and injustice and evil while, God’s working His plan and redeeming His own. The place where we see again the direct collision of glory and tragedy is on the Cross of Jesus Christ.
I always think about this every time we put up a tree. I think about this in the morning when I’m doing my tweets and looking at the tree. This is not really the tree that Christmas is about. There’s this tree of Calvary where the glory of the Presence of the Messiah; the glory of the plan of God to offer salvation, forgiveness, transformation and ultimate deliverance. The pathway of that glory was unspeakable tragedy. The one perfect human being who ever lived would suffer an unjust and violent death.
If you were unaware of God’s plan you would stand at the foot of that cross and you would think this is the worst tragedy ever. But here’s the Christmas story: the worst thing that ever happened was the best thing that could ever happen.
Nothing could be worse than the murder of the Messiah.
Nothing could be better than the sacrifice of the Messiah for the salvation of the world.
My hope is, that when you think of Christmas you get beyond the things that are okay to enjoy and remember that, because glory was willing to face tragedy, we have hope and life and peace forever. That’s the Christmas Story.”
Dear sisters, my hope is that you take the time, over and over and over again, to pause and ponder the Story, the only story that gives sense and meaning to our lives. And it’s all wrapped up in Jesus, Jesus, JESUS.
Stephanie Dale Paul
Stephanie serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. They have two grown children. Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.