Based On: Hebrews 9:1-9
Have you had a chance to look into the manger? I don’t mean the manger in our chancel. I’m talking about the manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. In a figurative way have you looked into that manger this Christmas season and considered who it is you see there?
There in that feeding trough you see a baby – a small, fragile, weak infant who needs someone else to take care of him. Just like any other baby he doesn’t look like a threat to anyone. In fact, have you ever come across a baby who you thought might hurt you? No, I didn’t think so. Perhaps that is why this world is much more willing to celebrate Christmas than Easter. Jesus as a little baby is not very threatening to anyone, but a Jesus who dies and comes back to life is someone with power – someone you better pay attention to.
It is easy to look into the manger and see the baby and only superficially consider who this baby is. It is too easy to look right past the plain, simple manger to all the other exciting celebrations going on around us. It would also be easy to look around and point a finger to all the empty pews around us and say, “they should be here!”, but let’s point the finger at ourselves instead. I know I am tempted in the same way. I look forward to gifts, family, food and perhaps focusing on Christ on Christmas morning becomes an attachment to the celebration instead of the center.
Take time this Christmas to look into the manger and consider the miracle that took place. If you come across any who could have filled these pews, encourage them to do the same. Pause for a moment from your busy lives to worship this baby.
Look into the manger and see not just a baby, but the God of the universe who created everything, sustains everything, and owns everything, who is in a position of power and authority that is much greater than even the angels of heaven. This little baby is the one who communicates to us all that God wants to tell us. This weak, little baby is the only one who could defeat Satan for us and remove our sins.
It is only by a miracle that this baby and God are one and the same. It is only by a miracle that God became one of us. Just try holding the world’s oceans in your coffee cup! Better yet, try doing it so that people don’t realize what is in your coffee cup. Doing that would be far easier than fitting God into a baby, far easier than even understanding how this baby could be God.
So the next time you see a newborn baby ask yourself the question, “How did the Almighty God become so small and helpless?” Ponder that unexplainable miracle for a moment and then ask yourself the question, “Why did he become a newborn baby?” You know the answer to that question.
Look into the manger and see not just a baby, but see his future. Watch this baby grow into a man who performs miracles only God could perform. Watch him on the cross as he crushes Satan’s head. Look at the cross and you will see my sins and your sins at the foot of that cross. You will see the blood of this dying baby falling onto those sins and covering them forever. Three days later he will come back to life. You and I now live because of him and we look for him to return.
Why did God become an infant? He came to tell us about himself. The Old Testament prophets told us about God’s love, but it was incomplete until Jesus came. Through this baby God tells us about his perfect love for us – in words and actions. Now when you look into the manger you see not just a baby, but a God who loves you, makes you holy, and one day will give you glory with him.