The Truth Behind the Tinsel

24 12 2011

by Bob Bishop

 Truth has always been more surprising than fiction.  But for some reason we are tempted to cover the truth with tinsel.  Here are some tidbits that may tantalize your quest to look behind the tinsel.  Did you hear the truth . . .

  • That one of the greatest mysteries of Sherlock Holmes is that Holmes never once said, “Elementary, my dear Watson?”
  • That you can watch Casablanca time after time and never hear the words, “Play it again, Sam?”
  • That Uncola, the drink with no artificial ingredients, once contained lithium which was useful for treating mental disorders?
  • That the phrases “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” “Know thyself,” and “God helps those who help themselves” are not in the Bible?

Just interesting facts?  Perhaps they should be reminders that behind the tinsel of Christmas is the simple truth … that amidst the noisy shoppers, past the glitter, beneath the candy canes and colored stockings, under the printed foil wrappings, shadowed by the jolly smile of Santa and even behind the Christmas spirit of philanthropy …that behind the tinsel is the truth of a simple story of a child born in a straw-littered stable.

The story is that the most valuable gift mankind has even been given was wrapped in an unexpected package.

The “untinseled” truth is that God worked in an unexpected way.  Unlike the Hollywood glitter, God’s program had greater impact.  You see, when God enters a scene, He often comes unobtrusively to catch us off-guard and to show us that He is not limited by convention or humility.  He uses unexpected methods like … a peasant carpenter father, a woman pregnant out of wedlock, a moldy shelter in Bethlehem, a motley group of despised shepherds, some Gentile astrologers, a fugitive family running from a crazed king and a child raised in the slums of Nazareth.

Perhaps as we clean up the wrappings and take the tinsel off our Christmas trees we will remember that the greatest gift came in an unexpected package.  Perhaps if we were a “Director” we would have filmed it differently.  But God chose to enter history as a fragile human being who later, in the prime of life, would suffer and die for the sins of the world.  And it all started in a manger, a surprise package you might say – the love of God wrapped in a baby named Jesus.  You might remember the words of Matthew, “You shall call Him Immanuel which means God with us.”  So you see the truth behind the tinsel is not the presents under a brightly lit tree, but God’s presence in a dim-lighted stable.  It was the truth behind the tinsel that changed history and continues to change human hearts.

May God bless you this Christmas.



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