“And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” (Luke 2:16-20)
As I get older and the Christmas’ stack on top of each year after year, I am becoming increasingly aware of the shallowness with which I’ve approached this time of year. The casualness and the familiarization of Christmas can have a dulling effect on the spiritual senses and I lose sight of the awe in which I should approach this time of year.
This is the time of year that we celebrate God in the manger! Luke writes that the shepherds ran to the manger and saw the Maker of the universe laying in manger; laying in materials like hay and wood that he himself had spoken into existence. The shepherds were in awe. Those who heard the shepherds tell of these things were in awe. Mary treasured these things in her heart.
My wife and I are reading an advent devotional this year by Dietrich Bonhoeffer called God in the Manger. This week we read, “What is going on here, where Mary becomes the mother of God, where God comes in the world in the lowliness of the manger? World judgement and world redemption- that is what’s happening here. And it is the Christ child in the manger himself who holds world judgement and world redemption. He pushes back the high and might; he humbles the haughty; his arm exercises power over all the high and mighty; he lifts what is lowly, makes it great and glorious in his mercy (42).”
Thank God for awakening me to the strength and majesty and glory that is found in this story. It is not a simple, cute story. It is a story of the dawning of our redemption for without the incarnation there would be no crucifixion, and without the crucifixion there would be no resurrection, and without the resurrection there would be no salvation.
Look to the redemption we find only through Jesus Christ. This baby lying in the manger was the lamb that was slaughtered to bring us redemption. Find new awe in it as we come before King Jesus. He is no longer in a manger, no longer on a cross, no longer in a tomb, but now sitting on the throne of the universe holding all things in his hands!