I was excited recently to be invited to a friend’s Christmas Craft Party. I was feeling burnt out with the kids and the idea of Mommy time couldn’t have been more timely.
The day of the party I packed up my gift to pass, a few pairs of scissors for the craft and a cranberry trifle to share. My friend’s house was festive and warm and the women all seemed eager for fellowship and a good time together.
After a cozy meal of white chicken chili, southwest rolls, and more goodies than I ever thought I could eat, we began our craft project.
A large plastic storage box was filled with fabrics and we were asked to choose our favorites. We were going to make rosettes in three different styles. They could later be turned into hair accessories, pins, or decorations for our favorite lampshade.
I had a great evening and made beautiful hair accessories for my girls and myself. I had so much fun I made five rosettes total.
Later, I began to think about the process I had gone through to make these little pretties and how it reflected the life of Jesus and everything my friend’s and I celebrated about his birth. Let me explain:
The first rosette began by tearing a long strip of fabric from the selvage edge. When Jesus died on the cross we learn that the veil was torn in two. Matthew 27:51 says “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” The separation between God and humanity was erased, ripped completely in two.
The life of Jesus was filled with blessing for humanity long before the curtain was torn. Sometimes he seemed incredible and wise and sometimes his ideas sounded impossible and hard.
The second step involved taking this super long strip, knotting it, gluing it to a circle and twisting the fabric while coiling it around the center. When Mary began her relationship with Joseph she surely didn’t expect such twists and turns to come to their impending marriage. It was a run of the mill engagement. Predictable and ordinary, but then God likes to put the sparkle in ordinary doesn’t he? From the time that Gabrielle explained the future to Joseph, he began a journey down a path full of twists and turns that led right up to the birth of our Lord. Mary and Joseph may have wondered where all the twists were leading. At times they probably felt their faith walking in circles of confident trust to cautious doubt and back again. Their perseverance had a result. As I twisted my last section of fabric and hot glued it to the end I saw that I had made something beautiful. For their faithfulness, Mary and Joseph had the privilege of being named the earthly Father and Mother of the Messiah!
The second rosette required us to cut out circles from chiffon (two big, medium and small). Then we lit candles and held the fabric over the flame. This was tricky and some of the ladies gave up. If you held it too close to the flame the fabric would bubble and burn holes. At just the right distance though, the heat would cause the edges of the fabric to pull together in a crinkle that resembled the petals of a rose. You know, when the three Wise men came in search of the young Savior they knew they were facing a challenge. Herod hated Jesus and attempted to trick them into disclosing the location of Jesus. In Matthew 2:12 we can see how they avoided betraying Jesus by avoiding Herod altogether and heading home a different way. When we come too close to evil we often get caught in a trap of sin. Like the fabric held too close to the flame our ambition is consumed and we become useless. However, at a distance we can let the fire of God smooth and shape us. It’s in this safe place that we meet with God. Our caution is rewarded with beauty as he bends us to his ways and forms us to his image. This rosette was the hardest one to make and my favorite of the three. When we practice caution and are brave enough to tackle what is difficult, the results often make us proud.
The last Christmas rosette was the most poignant reflection of Christmas. I began with a large circle and cut the fabric around in a coil like a snake, leaving a quarter sized head at the end. From the first moments of humanity the serpent, Satan, has been seeking to destroy God’s creation. He’s had it out for humanity since the first breath of Adam in the Garden of Eden. But God had an antidote for snake better than any anti-venom ever administered. It came in human form, in the tiny unexpected shape of a baby boy. Genesis 3:15 explains that human offspring would be the cure, crushing the head of the serpent. I believe the first soft coos of the baby Jesus sent shivers up Satan’s back. As I rolled the coil of fabric tightly a rosette took shape.
The birth of Jesus was a miracle, an answer to redemption that we could never attain without Him. He preserved his people, paid their debt and welcomed all who would come to be accepted into the family of God. He erased the separation between God and man and made a path for relationship that we were desperate need of. He led his people through twists and turns, battles of faith and fear that always ended in beauty. He refined us with his Word and held our actions to account. He made the consequences of sin clear and the promise of following him a reward bigger than we could expect. He crushed the serpents head and made a statement that He would always win. He can be trusted.
This Christmas, whether you celebrate with massive amounts of festive celebrations or in the quiet warmth of your home, I hope you find time to reflect on the life of Jesus, our Messiah, and what his birth and life means to you.