We were capturing some holiday sparkle last week with construction paper, a few tubes of glitter and a big bottle of glue. Bling Princess was peppering the page with glimmer, clapping her hands in approval as a dazzling star took shape before her eyes. Farmer boy was searching the craft room shelves for “something browner.”
“Browner?” I asked as he shuffled through pipe cleaners and paint jars, cotton balls and fun foam.
“Yeah,” he said. “Like some glitter that looks dirty.”
“Dirty?” I repeated, confused by my littlest boy’s mission. “Why do you want dirty glitter to make your Christmas card?” I glanced at his sister’s shimmering masterpiece and then turned my gaze back to my waiting son. “What do you want to make, Buddy?”
“A garbage truck.”
“A garbage truck?”
“Yeah,” his emerald eyes sparkled like the glitter scattered all over the table. “And it needs to be all splattered with dirt and stinky stuff.”
The star maker began creating flickering Christmas trees and I headed upstairs to print out a picture of a trash hauler.
We glued the mighty rubbish transporter onto a piece of neon green card stock and he drizzled streams of white goo across the page.
“Did you find some dirty glitter?” he asked with hope.
I set a box of graham cracker crumbs next to the festive tubes of glitter and his shy smile grew large.
“Perfect,” he whispered.
I watched as he scattered the brown bits and smeared them into just the right spots. He added a tinge of his sister’s shimmer “because it is Christmas time.” And then he stepped back to admire his work.
“This is the truck that Jesus drives,” my budding artist announced.
“That’s Jesus’ truck?” I asked, checking if I’d heard right.
“Yeah,” my little boy replied, “You know... the one that carries away all of our stinky sins and stuff....”
The Prophet's words that I'd read at dawn churned through my mind.“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool." Isaiah 1:18
I took one last glance at my son’s Christmas creation.
Could it be that my little boy understands Christmas far better than his mommy?
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:6-8
We’ve tidied up this scene with sweet smelling hay and cute wooden mangers. The truth is messier. Our Savior was born in a dung heap. He left the heights of Heaven to trudge through our roads of rubbish. Maybe Jesus never drove a garbage truck, but he let soldiers drive nails through his hands and feet. Then in an unthinkable exchange, he allowed all of our trash to be heaped upon his shoulders and he hauled our putrid sins as far as the east is from the west. Hallelujah!
Immanuel. God is with us, lifting us from garbage to glory.