Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: The Pride of Beauty


The ancient city of Tyre was a colony of Sidon. It was a merchant city and famous for "Tyrian purple," a dye made from murex shellfish. Because the dye-production process was time-consuming, Tyrian purple was expensive. Only the wealthiest could afford it. It's the reason rich people wore purple.

As a result, Tyre and her citizens were wealthy. This port city (an island) did trade in cedars from Lebanon, copper from Cyprus, silver from Spain, and tin from Cornwall. The world literally made a path to their doors.

They trusted in their wealth, but also in their location. Because they were an island-city, it was difficult for conquering armies to invade them. They took comfort in the assumption that they were safe.

The people of Tyre were honored, famous, and proud of their accomplishments, their wealth, and the beauty they prized.

God didn't see Tyre quite the same way they saw themselves, however.

In the oracle against Tyre, Isaiah wrote that God planned to "defile the pride of all beauty, to despise all the honored of the earth." (Isaiah 23:9)

This is a hard word, but the reason for the judgment against them was pride. Specifically, the pride of beauty.

Eventually, Alexander the Great built a causeway to the city and conquered it. Tyre fell. Their wealth and beauty were gone in an instant. 

Proverbs tells us that "pride comes before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18) and "When Pride comes, then comes dishonor, but the humble is wisdom." (Prob. 11:2)

John wrote about pride, too. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world." 1 John 2:16

In the midst of the glitter of the holiday season, it's important to remember that God has never used glitter to decorate anything. The only lights He uses are the ones He made.

He wrapped the most beautiful gift of all, His Son, in soft strips of cloth and nestled Him in a stone manger padded with fresh hay. The beauty He celebrated was the beauty inside that flesh-wrapped God-boy, the beauty of love that would change everything.

Today, let's take a look at the glitz around us through God's eyes. I enjoy glitter and sparkle, too, but it's important to remember that the glitz we enjoy is a sad imitation of the sparkle of heaven. 

Let's choose to look for the deeper beauty that glorifies and honors God. Let's find the beauty of the babe in the manger and celebrate the gift only God could wrap so well.
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Heart of Christmas: The Promise Kept, The Prophecy Fulfilled 
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