One day, when she was around three, Abby stood next to me in the bathroom as I fixed my hair. It was near Christmas and she was singing a song she had learned in Sunday school. I listened to her sing and realized she was a bit confused.
She sang, "Always in a manger, no crib for His head..."
I swallowed a laugh and told her, "No, Honey. It's not 'always,' it's 'away in a manger.'"
"Okay," she said, and started in again. "Away in a manger..."
But it made me think. Always in a manger. . . .
It's appropriate to celebrate Jesus' miraculous birth. God Himself marked the event with an angel choir. But we can't leave Jesus there, in a manger. His birth was not the whole story. He came to Earth to grow into an extraordinary youth who dazzled priests with His knowledge; to become a teacher who fed multitudes; and a Redeemer who sacrificed His life for our eternal salvation.
It's easier to think about the baby Jesus. It doesn't require much of us. Granted, it takes faith to believe in His virgin birth, but there is nothing about His birth that makes us consider ourselves, our sinfulness. It's Jesus the Man who demands something of us. His death on the cross—we have to do something with that. We can choose to ignore it, we can dismiss it, or we can be changed by it.
Christmas is a time of joy and gladness—it's good news that Jesus came. But we can't leave Jesus in the manger. He didn't come to Earth to be a baby. He came to Earth to be a Savior.
December 22, 2004