A Gospel Spice Christmas

Day 4 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

DAY FOUR–YOUR LIFE, A NATIVITY SCENE

Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Star anise. Clove. Each of the four gospels flavors our Christmas experiences with its own unique fragrant spice. Have you ever noticed we cannot thank Mark for any element in our beloved nativity scenes? The gospel of Mark makes no overt mention of the birth of our Lord—though, to be fair, he does sprinkle those Christmas aromas throughout his gospel. God’s glory was Mark’s delight. Had it been up to him alone, however, nativity scenes would not grace our mantels. 

John doesn’t provide much towards our Christmas traditions either. John the poet unveils the perspective of heaven: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). These inspired words encompass much more than nativity scenes; within their whispers are nestled the transfiguration and the resurrection. John tells us that a baby of flesh was born, who was both God and man, begotten before the foundation of time. John sets forth theology straight from the Throne Room, doctrine to inspire reverent worship in awe and wonder. John’s delight was God’s glory. He describes spices from the kitchens beyond the pearly gates. But he does not offer much towards earthly Christmas scenes. 

And so, thank God for Matthew. He gives us the spicy backstory on Joseph and Mary (Matthew 1:18-24). If we had Matthew’s gospel only, our nativity scenes would include the Bethlehem-bound wise men, star-guided and spice-laden with gifts of myrrh, gold, and frankincense, who came and worshipped the child (Matthew 2:1-12). Matthew delighted in the glory of God. But his chronicle of the Incarnation is appallingly spice-less (Matthew 1:25): “she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” Period.

Blessedly, Luke lavishly sprinkles cardamom, cinnamon, and clove on our Christmas experience. Luke offers the shepherds, the manger, and the swaddling; he adds the star above their heads, the straw, the animals, the glory, and the angels. Luke delighted so much in God’s glory, he alone mentions music (Luke 2:13), an invitation to worship. We owe him Handel’s Messiah, The First Noel, and every Christmas carol: Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel . . .

An invitation to worship. Mark, John, Matthew, and Luke made God’s glory their personal delight. They each shared unique Christmas spices that blend together today into our own unique personal experience of worship at Christmas. Your life is the fifth gospel.

Make your life a daily nativity scene for your delight. Christmas heralds Christ incarnate. Is the flavor of His incarnation ever-deeper infusing your daily life? This is His Christmas invitation to you this season.

Make your life a daily nativity scene to His glory. Take time to taste the spices of the gospel, the good news of Jesus increasingly born in your life. It’s not limited to Christmas spices. He offers to make your entire life a yearlong nativity scene. 

God’s glory, our delight. How can you delight in the glory His incarnation in your life by His Spirit today?