(“Jesus is the Gift” plate was bought online at DaySpring-USA)
I wanted to buy some of the pretty ceramic products featured in a magazine. These were sold in a Christmas Bazaar far from our place. One day, my beloved husband was going that way, so I asked him to buy them for me, showing him the pictures. Now, my husband and I are so different. Modesty aside, I’ve always had an eye for simple but elegant beauty, but my husband just didn’t have. So, I had to make the plea over and over again: for him to please choose and buy like I was the one choosing and buying.
In the evening when he arrived and I saw the items he bought, I couldn’t hide my disappointment. As he showed them to me one by one, I was shaking my head. Except for the China cake pedestal (which is my first), I really didn’t like the rest. These are: a painted jar made of clay (I prefer porcelain or ceramic), a speckled ceramic fruit tray (I could do away with the specks, why did they have to put them?), and 3 pieces of ceramic small plates with corrugated edges, which I like, but I would have prefered plain-colored ones, like plain white or plain vintage yellow.
Last night, I got to thinking about these vessels that my husband bought for me, and I thought of how the Lord had chosen each one of us to be a “vessel” of things that He had purposed for us when He called us. Some of us were speckled, of different hues, but definitely, all made of clay. But He received us all and made us “vessels unto honor”, according to His great mercy and grace.
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. (1 Cor. 1:27-28)
For us who have limited eyes for beauty, we only see the outside of things, and rarely “look” beyond the surface, of what each vessel may contain. But I thank God that He is so not us, for He sees beyond our skin and see beauty that can contain, carry, and bear His gifts. Aren’t vessels for these purposes: to contain, carry, and bear? If a vessel were empty, where could it draw its beauty?
Some vessels may carry encouragement, inspiration, and hope to others and give them something to celebrate.
Other vessels may carry God’s gifts that show and proclaim His beauty and majesty, like our writings, our songs, our artistic creations.
And some others may carry fruits of love, joy, peace, and all the other gifts the Holy Spirit gives.
Wasn’t it the same way with our Savior when He came to redeem mankind? It is written in Isaiah 53:2:
…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
But He has willingly and lovingly “BORNE our griefs”, “CARRIED our sorrows”, CONTAINED the wounds and bruises in His flesh for our transgressions, and “the chastisement of our peace was UPON him” (Isaiah 53;4-5, emphasis added). “And the Lord has LAID on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6, NIV, emphasis added).
Even this shabby crib that is laden with hay…
…contained the King, the reason we have, and celebrate, CHRISTMAS. Jesus is the ultimate vessel of grace, mercy, forgiveness, peace, salvation, love, hope, healing.