I receive a daily email from “Story People” an arts community that produces some of the most unique and wonderful contemporary art that I have found. I have purchased several of their items for friends as gifts and I have one in my office that I received from my wonderful wife. They are wonderful pieces of art that combine both the beauty of the art as well as a wonderful message.
Today’s email was striking. It was entitled “Purple Madonna” and it got me thinking in a big way about how we do (or do not) see Jesus in the world around us. The saying (which you can’t read too well in the picture at left) reads:
One time on Hollywood Boulevard I saw a young girl with a baby. It was a crisp winter morning & her hair shone dark purple in the sun. She was panhandling outside the Holiday Inn & the door clerk came out & told her to be on her way & I wondered if anyone would recognize the Christ child if they happened to meet. I remember thinking it’s not like there are any published pictures & purple seemed like a good color for a Madonna so I gave her a dollar just in case.
“I wondered if anyone would recognize the Christ child if they happened to meet”. I have wondered about this over the years. I have wondered how we would respond today if someone claimed to be Christ returning to the world or how we would respond if the Christmas events happened to us, here and now, today. Would we recognize the person of Jesus as more than just the man of Jesus, but also the divine one coming into the world? Would we believe? Or would we just receive with cynicism or trying to find the ways that he couldn’t be the one?
As we gather tonight to celebrate Christmas Eve, we encounter a story of unusual circumstances (virgin births, angels, etc), unusual people (a carpenter, a young woman, shepherds, astrologers), and unusual places (Bethlehem, stables, mangers, fields). All coming together around a child promised to be the Messiah, the Savior.
A lot has changed since this story first took place, but one thing that remains the same is that God comes to us often in ways that we do not expect. And the way that we experience God is in looking for these places where God comes. May our eyes and our hearts be open as we receive the Christ child in this season and may we help to point out to others the places where God is in the world today – purple hair and all.
Grace & Peace to you all this blessed Christmas Eve.