Once again I am taking a detour from restaurant equipment blogging. I promise not to make any Chemex sales pitches in this blog. Today I want to talk a little bit about Christmas. Not the commercialized American shopping Christmas, but Christmas.
This is one of my favorite paintings in the world. It is Dante Rossetti’s depiction of the Annunciation (interestingly he used his sister Christina Rossetti – author of “In the Bleak Midwinter” – as his model for Mary). The Annunciation depicted here is when Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus although she was a virgin. I love this painting. Part of the reason I love it is the terrified posture of Mary. Mary was a regular person like you and me, and she was shocked by the angel Gabriel. Yet, somehow in all the years of confusion about Mary in the Christian Church, she has somehow been mostly depicted as immune from the natural terror wrought by the presence of an angel. Throughout the Bible whenever an Angel appears to people, they either fall over, stand petrified, or are in need of new underpants (and sometimes all three). Angels always have to tell people, including Mary, “Be not afraid.” I love that in this painting Mary is scared but humble and full of grace. She is young and unsure of what is going on, she “wonders” at these things said to her. It is amazing that God chose to enter the world through the virgin birth from a peasant girl. This painting depicts the announcement of the most miraculous thing in the world.
The greatest miracle of Christmas is not the Virgin Birth. It is perfectly logical that an all-powerful God that is the Creator of all life could cause a pregnancy without the normal means. The greatest miracle of Christmas is the Incarnation – God’s taking on of human flesh. It is beyond mysterious that Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, would become a man – let alone a baby! I plan on reading again Athanasius‘ On the Incarnation this week. Aside from the Bible, this is my favorite book. It has been a paradigm-changer for me, and I love reading it. I think it will be especially fitting to read it as we celebrate Advent.
Also, Jen and I have discovered a new favorite Christmas CD. I do not have a #1 favorite Christmas CD, but the new Christmas CD by Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn has solidified itself within my top three within the past several days. This CD is completely focused on the Incarnation (aside from one hilarious re-wording of “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”) The songs “I Will Find a Way,” “You Came Down,” and “Nations That Long in Darkness Lay” have been on near-constant repeat on my ipod. I highly recommend this CD to all people.
This will probably be my last post until after Christmas. I will soon be headed down to the glorious Volunteer State. Merry Christmas to all of you.
Until later Friends…
- New Christmas Record (Andy Gullahorn)
- Christmas Music (Jill Phillips)
- A Conversation About Our Song “I Will Find a Way” (The Rabbit Room)