Manger and Cross – Week of December 23, 2019
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
How could the King of Kings sleep in a manger (a feeding trough for animals)? How could the creator of the world find no room in an inn? How could the infinite, all-knowing, and all-powerful God allow himself to be born in such lowly circumstances? Love. That’s why.
How could an adult with a college degree take little children (not their own) to the bathroom? How could a grown person be so consumed with slime, playdough, and crayons? How could sophisticated, well-educated, and articulate adults allow themselves to be in such a position for not great pay? Love. That’s why.
In order to understand the birth of Christ you have to look beyond the hill of Judaea (Bethlehem) to Mount Calvary. In order to truly understand this Christmas event you have to look beyond the wood of the manger to the wood of the cross. This little boy came to die. God came to die. Sins needed to be paid for so God came to pay the price. That’s why he is so lowly. Love. That’s why.
In order to understand your life’s work in the home, in the school, and in the world, you need to look past everything to the cross. It’s all for love, that’s why. Love that serves in order to point others to the cross where you have found your Savior’s love. That’s why you clean up those disgusting messes. That’s why you painstakingly laminate an endless amount of paper. Love. That’s why.
It doesn’t always feel like it. It can feel more like burden. It can feel like a cross. And it is. God works his love in the world through you. So even when there are days when you don’t feel very loving or patient or calm or appreciated or valued or loved yourself, God still works his love through you. So why do you do it all? Love. That’s why. Because God loves you and you will do whatever it takes to show that love to those little ones in your care.
Dear Savior, help us to look past the manger to the cross. Here we see a simple and ugly thing used for the ultimate good, our forgiveness. Remind us in the grind of our own lives that you still work your love through us to others. Amen.