The new babe, wrapped in rags and lying in a humble manger, begs all of us come look. What’s the big deal? Christ is God’s gift to mankind, God made human and walking among us. Pretty huge, that. I’ve heard people speak on how this isn’t the whole story, though. The sweet babe is no threat to anyone.
We must take the child Jesus in, humble and without pretense, and nurture His life in our own. As He grows, the impact on our lives becomes clearer. He becomes a real man doing powerful things. He turns over tables and drives demons out with whips in order to make new life where only broken loneliness was before. In some people, it happens nearly overnight as they lay down their lives for him. I must be a rebel to the core. I seem to have to question every single change to my plans.
I truly want what I see the disciples had. They struggle for understanding at first, but then they get it. They become a powerful force in changing the direction of the world. My brother mentioned once that I have been a Christian since he was in diapers, yet my life is no different than any other. That voice inside just won’t give up. Does that really need to go, Lord? Where are we going with this? Ugh. Why can’t I just trust and move forward? Everything I thought I knew for certain is being thrown away. It astounds me how patient my Lord is with my struggles. He loves me too much to let go.
Every step I’ve actually made in faith, without looking back or seeking anyone’s approval, has proven a huge leap forward. Just as when Peter accepted that Jesus was walking on water and was enabled to do the same, I have been blessed each time I’ve trusted in the One who calls to me and will not let me fall. I must not look at the waves crashing around me, but stay focused on Him. How hard that is at times! I must remember that, although the threats to me are real, the Spirit which now fills me is more powerful. I am safe with Him, while they are not. The waves will be silenced.
The growth pang immediately following each step of faith is one of those ‘hurts-so-good’ feelings that encourages me to take another. I must let my bodily temple be swept clean and not set back up what he has cleared out. It sounds so easy – but He requires a lot more space than I’d anticipated. I thought I could just set Him up in the corner. As He becomes king, however, His temple becomes far more beautiful than I’d ever dreamed.
That little babe with all of heaven peering into the manger is a true miracle. He comes to us, innocent and unobtrusive, quietly asking for a room in our hearts and promising life. Once in, He does eventually ask that our personal desires be sacrificed. Not that we be martyred. We just need to give him the driver’s seat as His miracles are worked through our bodies and lives.
We all say we desire peace on earth. Really? Enough to choose it on a moment-by-moment basis? How did Christmas impact you this year? Will you allow that peaceful babe to move into your everyday life and grow to manhood? Will you allow His wisdom to overtake your common sense? How will that quiet manger scene change your new year? Will you leave the past behind and be made amazingly new?
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15