As Christmas approaches this year, one must wonder what most people are really thinking about this holiday based on what we see going on in our society and even the Church. For many, Christmas does commemorate Christ's birth, but beyond that one is not really sure who they think is in that Manger. For some, it is a dusty throwback to a time gone by when people used to believe in traditional "religious stuff." All of that seems to be increasingly less important today in an age of tolerance and multiculturalism. For others, about all the holiday symbolizes is shopping, busyness and a season of parties and families getting together.
Somewhere in this mixture of beliefs people have lost the immensity of what Christmas is really about....even in the Church. You see, the Babe in the Manger is Lord of all. As a result, everything that exists is about that Child, created by Him and for Him as the Bible tells us in Colossians 1:16. That Child created the Heavens and Earth and designed His own body and birth as a way to enter the world and save it from sin. Christ's birth demonstrated His own majesty and glory as our Creator and Redeemer at the same time. Let's spend a little time exploring the mystery, majesty and magnitude of the Manger this Christmas and let the Lord amaze us.
The Bible tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us at Christmas (John 1:14.) Since Jesus is the Word and light of the world according to John 8:12, He created the very Star that led the Wise Men to His Manger according to Matthew 2:9. Jesus not only created the Star of Bethlehem, but the entire Milky Way galaxy of which it was a part with over 100 billion other stars. Scientists now tell us those galaxies are all moving away from each other, a fact that teaches the universe had a beginning as the Bible tells us in Genesis 1:1..."In the beginning." So the Lord that created light and the beginning of time and space also created a new Genesis for a fallen and sinful world by entering the womb of a virgin Himself to start the world over with His light, Life and redeeming love.
That same Babe also created our Sun to express His own divinity, and our Earth to express His humanity. Jesus was born outside the sin of a human father through the womb of a virgin from Nazareth to be the New Adam of a redeemed humanity. The very reason we even have a Sun and Earth is because our Lord needed to be fully God (the Sun) and fully Man (the Earth) to save us. That same Lord in the Manger also put the Moon up in the sky to remind His people that they needed to reflect His light to a dark world that was immersed in sin. As that Moon reflects the Sun each month, it also perfectly reflects and is connected to Mary's monthly, menstrual (moon) cycle that allowed her body to bring forth our Lord's humanity, as with every other mother who has given birth.
It was that same Child that created His own first breath and tears at His birth to remind us of the breath of life and the tears of a fallen world. This gift of breath was something that the Babe had put into the lungs of Adam when he was first created from the dust of the ground in Genesis 2:7. That first breath was now carried again by the Babe Himself as a redeeming expression of true praise to the Lord. This is true because all worship comes from the breath in our lungs that is carried by the blood in our veins. Our amazing cardio-vascular system was designed by the Christmas Child to bring forth a breath of praise or Halleluiah to the Lord as in Psalm 150:6, and to remind us of His redeeming and precious blood. Our Savior's new breath as one of us would give praise to His Father by bringing forth His Word that now had became flesh through our Lord's Life and ministry.
After His birth, our Lord was placed in a Manger according to Luke 2:7. His Manger was put there to remind people that animals were also part of the creation story in Genesis 1 along with mankind. One future day that Infant will bring the entire world to total restoration in the Messianic Age according to Isaiah 11:7-8:
The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra and young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
This same future prophecy of the world's restoration in the Manger was also a prophecy of the Cross as part of the surrounding Temple's sacrificial system overseen by the shepherds in Bethlehem. You see the Child just born was being raised by Himself to be the future Shepherd of His sheep that would provide His own sacrifice for our sins. Our Lord was both the Shepherd and the Lamb!
Somehow the magnitude and majesty of the Manger has been lost in a world interested in other things. The mystery of the Manger is that the world cannot seem to fathom that there is a loving God that created all things who was lying quietly in His mother's arms that first Christmas. And yet, the Christmas Story was and is designed to absolutely overwhelm us....to bring us to our knees. How else can we ever sing Christmas carols or really worship if the Story is "manageable" or something we have control over? You see the greatest message of the Manger is that we need a Savior, Someone who can come into our lives and change them forever. If Christmas is just a sentimental holiday for the Church, it won't do much to change anyone. Unless the magnitude and majesty of God becoming Man is understood and gloried in by the Church, the Gospel message of salvation will be lost to a culture in love with itself. We see evidence of that now as the Babe in the Manger is increasingly being stripped of His glory by a multicultural world and an often lukewarm Church.
The moment we see the Lord of Creation born in that Manger to save us, we experience the wonder of Christmas. The moment the Holy Spirit shows us Who is in Mary's arms we find the meaning and purpose of our lives in this life and the next. May this be your greatest Christmas ever as we behold and contemplate the mystery, magnitude and majesty of the Manger. Merry Christmas.