Are you frustrated with the Christmas holiday? The commercialization, the restrictions on religious terminology, and the frantic pace of the season can leave us worn out and dreaming about a vacation from the time off!
I love the words in John 1:14 that say, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father,) full of grace and truth.” The word dwelt there means “tabernacled” among us and draws our minds back to a wonderful picture in the Old Testament.
God desired to dwell with His people, the Israelites, and instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. A man by the name of Bezaleel was commissioned for this task, and the specifics of this construction were very clear. The boards of the tabernacle were to be of shittim wood (Exodus 36:20) as was the outer covering of the ark of the covenant (Exodus 37:1). In both cases, however, the wood was overlaid with gold (Exodus 36:34 and 37:2). The tabernacle and the ark were clear pictures to the Israelites of God’s presence among them. Interestingly, the wood speaks of humanity while gold in Scripture always typifies the divine.
This beautiful picture in the Old Testament foretells the coming of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. As God, He took on flesh and dwelt among us. “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4–5). In Romans 8:3, Paul writes, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Yes, God was manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16)!
As the children of Israel looked at the tabernacle or saw the ark, they knew that it was made of wood, but all they saw was the gold. When people in the first century met Jesus, they saw a Man in the flesh, but were constantly reminded by all that He said and did, that He was indeed Divine! Even the Pharisees exclaimed “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). Pilate declared, “I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38). And those who crucified Him upon His death announced, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Yes, in His birth, His life, and His death, the gold covered the wood. His divine nature could not be hidden; for He was indeed God in the flesh.
So, when you start getting frustrated with the bustle of Christmas, focus on the “Gold.” Yes, we are all going to have to deal with the “wood” of Christmas—long lines, jammed schedules, political haggling, tired kids, and empty bank accounts. But when the depressing holiday spirit starts to get to you—focus on the “Gold.” Had Jesus Christ simply come to this world as “wood” (human) there would be no Christmas. But because He came as “Gold” (God), we can celebrate this season no matter what our circumstances. Have a Golden Christmas!