Are We Beauty or Beast?
When my two children were little, the three of us watched a televised play of Beauty and the Beast. In those days, the tale was not a popular animated production, but the actors brilliantly portrayed what I believe to be the story’s message: unconditional love.
I distinctly remember the moment I recognized the “Christ story.” A weeping Beauty knelt by the dying beast and offered her love in spite of his horrid appearance and behavior. If she had waited for him to perfect his flaws, he would have died under an evil spell.
Beauty’s love transformed the Beast and released him from the curse. In a similar manner, God’s love for us is the only thing with power to transform our pitiful condition and restore us to life. We can’t be good enough for Him. We can’t make ourselves loveable or lovely. Only His unconditional love can perform such a miracle and free us from the curse of sin and death.
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).
This theme danced through the back of my mind as I worked on my inspirational holiday novella, As You Are at Christmas. We don’t usually think of Christ dying while we’re trimming the tree, baking cookies, and wrapping presents. Yet it was for that very purpose that the Babe in the manger came.
This Christmas as you transform a forest evergreen into a glittering background for holiday ornaments, consider the transforming power of a God who loved us unconditionally—even while we were beastly, unattractive sinners.
As You Are At Christmas – Angela Murphy’s plans for a cozy Colorado Christmas shatter when she finds her fellow-teacher boyfriend entangled with another woman. But she goes home anyway—to the Berthoud Boarding House where her grandmother Mollie needs help with tasks requiring both Angela’s aid and that of a handsome new boarder, Matt Dawson. Temporarily rooming at the boarding house until his new furnace arrives, Matt sees through Mollie’s manipulations. But he can’t complain about spending time with the beautiful gray-eyed school teacher and the mangy stray dog they pick up on their way home from cutting a Christmas tree. In the company of both a beauty and a beast, Matt remembers the encouragement of a long-forgotten youth minister. Will those words draw him back to a long-forgotten God? And will Angela find that home lies not in the Victorian house of her childhood, but in the arms of the man she’s grown to love?