December 25, 2007

Peering Into The Manger

As I write this post, Christmas is rapidly drawing to a close. I had a great Christmas this year, and I hope that you have as well (if you celebrate Christmas, that is). And I have a question for you as another Christmas ends:

Who did you see in the manger?

A Baby In The Manger
Each year, we are drawn to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who would grow to become our savior by reconciling the sins of man with a holy God. When we read the Gospel accounts of the nativity story, many of us see a beautiful baby boy, dreamily sleeping as shepherds and wise men graciously visit him with gifts and reverence.

And if on Christmas you see a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger, then I would humbly ask you to look deeper into the manger to discover the full wonder of the Christmas story.

God Almighty In The Manger
All too often, we see the baby in the manger and forget that there is more to the story -- the baby Jesus is also God! For me, this is what makes the story of Christmas indescribably marvelous.

In our daily lives, we constantly seek to improve our skills and increase our learning so that we may steadily improve our station. We seek ever to improve our influence and our importance among our fellows. We strive to know more, have more and to be more.

But imagine having created the entire universe and all that exists within it. Imagine having ultimate power and perfect knowledge. God had it all, and yet lowered himself to the smallest possible position of humanity so that he might elevate us.

This is the miracle of Christmas: that God chose to come from Heaven to Earth, placing himself among us as a baby so that we may one day leap from Earth to Heaven.

The Christmas Spirit
Our need must truly be great if a supremely powerful being must take such a surprising and humbling action to broker a reconciliation to him!

Often, we don't realize the depth of our need. Often, we don't recognize sin's poinsonous influence in ourselves. In a world where people daily carry out atrocities against each other, like a serial killer that coolly slays his victims solely for the joy of watching them die at his hands, it can be pretty easy for us to look at ourselves and think that we are basically good people.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we can readily see that we fail each day to abide by God's precepts. He asks for us to merely put our trust in Him and to treat each other with loving kindness. Yet we find that we often fail to do so or miss opportunities where we could have done so, despite our honest desire to do good.

And yet, despite our great failings, God has already done the work required to reconcile us to him and view us as holy and blameless, beginning with his work on Christmas day.

How then should we respond to the miracle of Christmas? I believe the most appropriate response is, in gratitude to God for his extraordinary love, to reach out to each other with loving kindness and to renew our trust in God -- for he has shown himself worthy, time and time again.

Also At Babblermouth:
This Sentence Has Over 100 Errors
I Am Not A Brainwashed Moron
Who Are You?

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