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Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Christmas Season Comes to an End

Tomorrow is the last day of the Christmas season, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It's a transition feast that sees the close of Christ's hidden life and the beginning of His public ministry. From this point, John, the herald of the Messiah, will decrease and Jesus will increase.

I offer in anticipation of the feast Raphael's rendition of the Baptism of Christ. I love it because Jesus is not some wimpy-looking, glassy-eyed holy card picture, but a strong man with muscles well-developed from hard manual labor. I can see this Jesus in my imagination building houses in Nazareth, carrying support beams for walls and roofs, turning over the tables of the money-changers with ease, and standing in the boat strong arms upraised demanding the wind and waves to be quiet. I can see him in the garden saying "It is I," and His persecutors collapsing to the ground before Him. He hides His divinity, but it is there in His humanity and in Raphael's great picture I can see it even as the angels bow before Him. Praised be to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

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