With all the hustle and bustle, the lights, the gifts, the busyness of the season, it is so easy to actually miss Christmas. Of course, I know the day will come and it will go, but will we even notice it’s Christmas?
Santa has taken over the day. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Santa! Even with ridding myself of many of my collection when I moved, I still own quite a few Santas. The excitement of Christmas morning is never quite the same once you discover the mystery of who Santa really is, so I continue to hold on to that joy. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” will forever be my mantra.
But think about it. Christ-mas. Without Christ, there is no Christmas. It’s that simple. You can call it whatever you want, but it’s still the celebration of the birth of Christ over 2000 years ago.
This past Sunday, my pastor, Jason McKnight, talked about how Advent equals Love. It’s interesting how you can know something yet not quite see it for what it truly is. We all know Jesus was laid in a manger (a feeding trough for cattle) because Bethlehem was overcrowded due to the census and that was the only place to be inside out of the night air. How would you like to be nine months pregnant and facing a night in a smelly stable with smelly animals? Sounds pretty yucky, doesn’t it? Even though Scripture doesn’t say this, I believe Mary was already having labor pains when they arrived in that city.
Everything surrounding the birth of Jesus is difficult for us to grasp. Mary was a young virgin chosen by God to be impregnated by the Holy Spirit. How in the world did she explain that one to her parents!!!! Joseph listened to the angel and married her anyway, taking on a child not his as they both faced ridicule and behind-the-back whispers of their supposed infidelity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my walk with the Lord, it’s that He doesn’t mind throwing something totally unexpected and out of the ordinary in our paths. Following God isn’t easy, but it’s amazing!
Jason asked us, “Why a manger?” Why did God chose for His Son, the Savior and Redeemer of the world to leave the glory of heaven only to enter this realm and end up in a germ-infested, splinter covered manger? Have you ever stopped to really think about that? I admit I had not. I just accepted it was all that was available. But God is sovereign and all-powerful and all-knowing. Couldn’t He have made better arrangements???? Of course, He could have. BUT HE CHOSE A MANGER!!!
Hear that? GOD CHOSE A MANGER!!!
It wasn’t an accident. It was LOVE! As Jason said, God was so committed to us (and still is!!!) that He was willing to let His Son be laid in a manger.
“Love is proved by the degree to which you will sacrifice for others.” *
(In our “all about ME world,” that should give you something to ponder!)
One of the many ways God proved His love is by the manger.
I don’t think I will ever see a manger the same again. It was a bundle of pure, sweet love that was swaddled in cloths and laid in that manger on that night the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, Peace, goodwill to men.”
Do you ever doubt God’s love? Then look to the manger!
We can’t miss Christmas when it’s the love of the manger we see.
Lots of love, Sharon
(*Many thanks to Jason McKnight for a beautiful sermon that sparked this blog post!!!)