“I look at a baby born in a manger and I ask, ‘Would I be willing to do that?’ And the fact that I’m not evidences the need for Christmas.” ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough
Today is the day. The final symbol on our Jesse Tree is a baby in a manger. Jesus has been born, the Promised One from of old. We have romanticized the scene of Christ’s birth through the years and made it look pretty and peaceful. However, there was nowhere to house Joseph and Mary, so they had to turn to a stable filled with animals that had been brought in for the night. There, in the midst of the noise, the smell, and the dirt, the King of Creation was born, a tiny, fragile human. Jesus was probably placed in a food trough filled with hay after His birth.
We often seek to become better, smarter, more influential, and more powerful. It is unlikely that any of us would set all of that aside for others. Our human nature usually takes advantage of the weak and powerless. We would not want to be weak and powerless ourselves.
The mystery of the incarnation – God taking on flesh and becoming human – is staggering. If any of us would have been all-powerful, do you think we would have cast off our power and glory to become a man? I am guessing the line for that would have been very short, actually, non-existent. Yet God, in all of His glory and splendor, elected to set all of that aside in order to be born as one of us.
God knew from our history that we did not relate well with angelic or heavenly visitors. God knew that we would fare much better if He would come to us as one of us. That was a risky proposition, fraught with peril. It was a risk that God was willing to take, however. That is how much He loves us.
Today is a wonderful feast day of love. It is the celebration of the fulfillment of a promise made long before when God said that He would send a deliverer to His people. The long-awaited Messiah was born this day. When we exchange gifts with one another, we do so thinking about the great gift that was given to us by God, the gift of His very own Son.
Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth!
FAITH ACTION: Many go without gifts at this time of year. Think about making a contribution to a local soup kitchen or food pantry.