Over 2000 years ago a little guy came into the world. Jesus. There were no hospital beds, and no cuddly blue blankets. For him it was something that would make cereal makers very proud. Straw and swaddling cloth. And for the bed? Something that smelled like the sheep that ate from it. A manger.
Says a lot about him. Right from the start the mystery of his nature is seen. The perfection of God resting in the paradoxical place that he did. He was God in the flesh. The perfect abiding in the midst of the unperfect.
I’ve heard it said a lot of times that being in that manger demonstrated Jesus’ humility, and while that is good — more can be said about this miracle that is remembered so commonly, that its power in a way is made shallow.
Here was Jesus among the very animals he designed. Here was Jesus with Mary (probably still feeling woozy from the hurricane she went through), and wide eyed Joseph. “Is this the Son of God?” Yes my good sir. It is. Above all, Mary and Joseph could touch God. They were the first people in a long time who actually had that privilege.
Joseph with calloused hands, and Mary with who only knows what on hers, held the Son of Glory in their arms. And pondered the mystery we take for granted. The mystery of how the omnipotent could be so gentle, so vulnerable, even needing help.
Jesus. Not a name of a king of thorns (though he would wear a crown of such); rather, the name of the God who wants to be touched by us.
All of the dirt in our mangers, and all of the film on our hands could not keep him away from us. Bizarre… he who is clean became dirty from being placed in that wooden trough to rest, and yet he was still clean.
That’s Christ. He took on our form, our need, and our nature, and yet he was without sin. He touched the damned of society, and healed them. He whispered to the storm, and it was calm. Being Emmanuel in the midst of sin burns out the sin in us.
Let rest be found to the weary. And may a song of peace be heard in the hearts of the disquieted, for he lives, and he lives forever. Resting in the rough wooden container of the heart, before we even knew him, calling us in truth his own.
For he is Emmanuel. God with us and God in us. Christ… the humble loving king forevermore.
Blessings, and thank you for reading. 🙂