A friend of our family shared this painting of the nativity scene by the artist Gari Melcher on her Facebook wall. When I saw the image, I stopped and stared, stunned by its raw beauty. It conveyed to me something more profound and impactful than any other nativity scene I had ever seen.
Melcher captured the reality of that night. In the image of Joseph, I see the weight he was carrying, knowing the story of a virgin birth would sound like a lie. Mary is asleep exhausted at his side from the pain of the delivery, and the King of Kings has allowed Himself to become a vulnerable infant under the care of a mother and father He created.
What makes this image so profound is the lack of addition. We have added so much interpretive license to our understanding of God and His Kingdom that we have lost an essential ingredient – reality.
In the portrait of our lives, the most beautiful representations are created when we live raw and exposed to the reality of our circumstances. Like the painting, God is with us in the midst of our difficulty even if His current manifestation seems inadequate to help us through the night.
Never allow personal fear or the demands of someone’s religious ideal to paint your reality out of the image. The Immanuel principle of God with us is the most beautiful and impacting when painted on the canvas of honesty, expressing the raw and vulnerable beauty of its reality.