Photography John Watson wrote, “focus is more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus is enhancing the subject by making it stand out from its surroundings.” The famed Caravaggio thought the same. Caravaggio used dark shades of color to pull his subjects to the forefront. Some artists/photographers forget this principle, leaving the viewer with no central figure. Watson noted that without focus, the picture or scene is devalued.
Consider the environment around the birth of Jesus. A virgin brings forth a child; a guiding star and a choir of angels are present. Bethlehem fulfills the prophecy of old; subsequent chaos ensues in the courtyard of King Herod. There is so much background, all of it significant in its own right. Even still, the focus is The Eternal taking the form of the mortal. God comes as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. He is the Consolation of Israel and a Light to the Gentiles. There is so much to see that the focus can easily drift from His purpose. He came as a sacrificial lamb, born to die for the sins of the world.
Decorations are temporary. “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” has but a few verses. “Joy to the World” will be a brief melody sung by the choir and our decor will soon be replaced. His purpose was far greater than our momentary celebration: His sacrifice more significant than the season in which we find ourselves. Besides, seasons change, His Blood remains.
I offer more than just a holiday. I present the “Logos” conceived in the dimension of the heavenly long before His arrival. Redemption demanded a blood sacrifice. Paul wrote that we were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish and without spot.
We sing and give gifts in honor of His birth, but we know that He is the reason for our salvation. Jesus said that he gave his life as a “ransom for many.” However, if we keep Him as just the “reason for the season,” then we might miss the purpose of His coming. He came to die for and take away the debt levied against us. I urge you to pull Him to the forefront and make all other things obscure.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole