December 9, 2012

The True Story of the Painting of the Fireplace

If we ever buy a house, I really, (really, really, pretty please!) want a working fireplace.  They're impractical in the age of central heating, but I love a cozy winter night before the hearth.  My dad built many fires for us growing up, and now does so for the grandkids; there's just nothing quite like the crackle of the fire in the quiet of a winter's evening, surrounded by family or friends in a welcoming home.

Currently, we don't have one, so last year I decided the kids and I could paint one.  That's it, above, hanging on the back of a bookshelf.  It's a charming picture isn't it?  The tree waiting to be trimmed, the stockings "hung by the chimney with care", that cute little child posing in front of the scene.

But behind the Christmas-sweetness of the scene, lies the true story of the painting of the fireplace:  I was pissed off the day we made it.

Pardon the expression,
but angry doesn't do the emotion justice.
I.  was.  pissed.

I don't remember what set it off, but I was not in any kind of cheery holiday mood that day.  Like a boiling kettle, I was spouting scalding words of spite at my children and scorching complaints seeped out under my breath, as I mumbled out my misery.  The afternoon was the perfect time for making the fireplace, though, so we did.  We taped the paper together, drew outlines of stones, and we each took specific painting tasks.

Now, maybe it was my low expectations, because I'm not much of an artist, or that I didn't feel I deserved such grace, but I was so pleased with the result!  I was able to proudly post a picture or our work on Facebook.  (I would have posted one either way, it was a bonus that it was decent looking!)

When you see our paper fireplace, you might think, "What a fun idea!"

When I look at that fireplace,
I think about how well it represents what Christmas is all about.

Friends, do you know why Jesus came?  One of my favorite verses is Matthew 1:21.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus,
because He will save His people from their sins.

Christmas is for sinners who deserve punishment for their sins.  That fireplace should be really hideous.  THAT is what I deserve.  Instead, God redeemed that afternoon and provided us with good memories of working together and a beautiful Christmas decoration for our home.

Likewise, God should leave us in our hideous estate.  Instead, He made a way for us to be redeemed.  He started planning at the fall and saw His people through to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus.  God makes ugly things beautiful.  God redeems those who seem beyond redemption.  Behold, these are good tidings of great joy!

You are not beyond redemption.  Sure, nothing you can do will enable you to save yourself.  But God knew that before you did, so HE provided the sacrifice for your sins.

Give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.



  1. You must have spent too much time with me
    when you were growing up... ha!!!
    it is stressful and little hands are SOOOOOO

    Perfect analogy though.

    1. Fortunately, that day the kids were fine! I don't know what had me so mad, but they just got the overflow from me. :( The painting part went great!

  2. We have SIX fireplaces in our house, none of which can function as intended. Talk about frustrating! Good story.

    1. Oh man, Rob, that would drive me nuts too! I didn't realize that house had so many fireplaces. Thanks for the commenting.

  3. You can always do a woodstove - the are efficient, and provide mostly the same effect, particularly if it is a fireplace insert.

    1. Worth looking into if we ever fall in love with a house, but it has no fireplace. Thanks!

  4. I treasure your honesty as always!