All roads may lead to Rome, but the most dangerous road leads to Coroico, a terminal stop on Bolivia’s El Camino de la Muerte—the Road of Death. The road may be deadly, but it’s also spectacular. Clinging to the sides of the verdant, misty Andes Mountains, the sliver of highway slices through panoramic vistas and tiptoes along unforgiving drop-offs that descend into oblivion.

When my friend Terry lived in Coroico, he discovered a restaurant where a calendar was displayed with a scene familiar to him—a red barn amid a field of hay. Where Terry grew up such a view was commonplace. But in Coroico the locals raved about its magnificence. “It’s far more beautiful than anything here!” they insisted. We humans easily grow bored with the beauty that awaits us at every turn. Perhaps we could say the same about our attitude toward our mysterious, miracle producing God. We gaze right past His magnificence.

When the prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of Messiah, he used a remarkable set of titles: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Just pleasant titles that are quoted at Christmas? Hardly. The implications found in those titles are infinitely profound.

The child born in Bethlehem is our Wonderful Counselor. The One crucified on a Roman cross is the Mighty God who alone will bring justice to our world. The Son given to us is somehow the Everlasting Father. The One whose “fist is still poised to strike” (Isaiah 9:17) is also the Prince of Peace. These are astonishing paradoxes.

Life’s road is often beautiful and often dangerous. That shouldn’t frighten us. It should give us ample motivation to praise our Creator God.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 2:41-52