After the Nativity
My friend, Kel, just wrote a post that spurred me to write something I’ve been thinking about the past few days. Merry Christmas season!
I’m sitting in my living room next to our lit Christmas tree, amid the cluttered remains of our family Christmas gift exchange. (We don’t usually clean up the wrapping paper for a day or two. There is a bit of a reason for that, which I hope to write about soon.)
I’m always a little bit sad when Christmas ends. It seems like the world just wants to hurry onto the next reason for sales and whatever else.
But I want to linger a little longer in the wonder of the season.
A couple of days ago, my husband’s extended family had a party. We gathered in Salt Lake City at the Church History Museum. Wandering the floors of the museum was part of our celebration. We also got to see the lights at Temple Square, which was fun (something I haven’t done for years).
But one of the things that stuck out to me the most was a passing moment: my sister-in-law leaned over to me and commented on a favorite painting of mine by Rose Datoc Dall that was on display in the museum store window.
Flight by Rose Datoc Dall*
It got me thinking. How often do we stop to consider what happened after the marvelous and miraculous Christmas story?
The event depicted in Flight came at a horrible time in the history of the Savior’s homeland, when King Herod had ordered the death of all children in that area. It’s almost too much to imagine what it must have been like to live through this horror.
Warned by an angel, Joseph took Mary and Jesus away from their home and the people they loved and knew — knowing what the fate of other children and their families would be.
I know most of us are likely already familiar with this story, but it really gave me pause to think about it again, to realize that really bad things happened to a lot of really good people. Children died and parents and communities in general must have suffered immeasurable grief, fear, and confusion. I even wonder if Mary and Joseph may have suffered through later years as they mourned with other parents whose children were killed.
When I thought of the story this week, I thought of the sobering message of it all. God did not protect other children and their parents from this horrible fate — just as He doesn’t always shield us and our children from hard (and sometimes horrible) things.
But He did deliver His Son and guide Joseph to carry Him into Egypt — so that Jesus could later fulfill His mission to deliver us.
The story of this little family’s flight into Egypt is a hard story, a painful story. But it’s also a hopeful one to me when I reach into my heart for my faith. It invites me to ponder more about God’s plan and His big picture, and urges me to seek for more of that kind of eternal perspective in my own life.
What events after the Nativity inspire you to ponder more of what God has done for us through His Son? What art inspires you in your quest to maintain perspective, faith, and hope?
*Image used by permission.