What would Jesus’ family Christmas photo have looked like?
“It’s like we get those perfect Christmas family photos everyday now on Facebook and social media.”
I heard the above statement on the radio and it certainly struck a chord with me. My friend, Alice Marie, and I had just been talking about the unrealistic impressions that “perfect photos” often bring.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pictures on Facebook! I joined Facebook in the first place so that I could see the photos our daughters posted of our grandchildren. I also enjoy seeing friends’ and acquaintances’ pictures and activities, some from very far away.
Yet what impression are we sharing? That we are “perfect” and all is peace and light on the home front?
We all are familiar with the idea that “a picture speaks a thousand words” – but are those words accurate? Do they reflect real life?
Let’s imagine for a moment that there was photography at the time of Jesus birth. What would the first family photo of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus look like?
- Mary and Joseph had traveled that day, so they probably looked pretty tired
- They had the dust of travel on their clothes
- There was no room in the inn, so they were offered a stable for shelter
- Their clothes were certainly not “festive” or “color coordinated” (so, ok, Phil – color does not ALWAYS matter)
- The animals were nearby, though they were not the pets often included in our holiday photos
So, here is the picture – the family is gathered in a stable, a great setting considering the current trend to use rustic backgrounds for photos. They are in rumpled, dusty clothes, a grouping of three – odd numbers are always good visually. The lighting is good because oddly enough, there is an unusually bright star shining right over the new baby. How fortunate is that?
But wait! There seems to be various men and boys crowding around to get in the picture! They brought sheep with them! They don’t seem to be related to this family of three. (maybe they can be photo shopped out later)
The parents are smiling, weary, but happy smiles gazing fondly at the new baby.
What would that photo of Jesus look like?
Would it radiate with the glory of His heavenly Father? Would there be any indication of the incarnate presence of God? Jesus birth made the angels announce – Luke 2:13-14
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The more I thought about what a picture of Jesus would look like, the more I thought that He would probably look like an ordinary baby. Tammy Youmans said her grandson Micah said – “Jesus rolled himself up into a baby.” I love that image.
We are so much more than our outward appearance, aren’t we? So was Jesus when He was here in human form.
Jesus was fully a man – and fully God.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth with family and friends this year, let’s take LOTS of pictures and share the joy and fun we experience.
Let us also remember that pictures don’t show the heartache of loss of loved ones, the pain and suffering that is often unseen but is a part of all of our lives.
Let us remember the words of hope the angel shared – Luke 2:10-11
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
God’s perfect gift – Jesus.