Merry Christmas! Question: When you think of a manger, what comes to your mind?
Magi with gifts?
History tells a different story than your Walmart Christmas card. The manger was most likely a cave in a mountain where animals were kept, not a wooden stall or shack or barn. Straw? Maybe. Magic with gifts? Definitely not (Matt 2). They came after Jesus was born and was likely at least a year or two old.
What’s the point? We can’t settle for a false sense of reality anymore. We can’t be satisfied for someone else telling us how things were or are or need to be. It doesn’t only extend to your ideas about how the birth of the Savior of the world came to be… but it starts there.
Isn’t an interesting consideration that it is possible that the way Jesus came into the world – hidden away in a cave in the side of a mountain – is the same way his triumphant victory over death would be forever remembered: an empty cave (tomb) in a mountainside!
In the same way, do not be naive about what a warrior must do to train himself for war. He doesn’t take days off. He uses every minute of free time to get some extra reps in… sharpen his mind and body… and is hyper-focused on the reality that there is a war to be won! A warrior also realizes that his success as a soldier in the battle impacts the livelihood of his family and the freedom they experience.
Jesus was obedient to His Father…not only in stepping down from heaven to become like us through birth of a woman, but also knowing the full cost of his entrance into the word: death on a cross. He was not naive to the cost of redemption! He was acutely aware of what he was laying aside for the sake of freeing His chosen ones… you! He knew the success of His mission impacted the livelihood of His family of sons and daughters.
Lord, draw us into a deeper revelation of who you were, who you are and who you have made us to be as we follow your example!
As you gather around family and friends this weekend, be fearlessly obedient to declare the mystery of the infant king who chose to become like us in order to redeem us and call us to FREEDOM. When you think of a manger, remember that a manger represents the starting line of a journey that would overcome the power of darkness, death, lies and sin so that you may know the power of the resurrection (Phil 3:10)!
Don’t settle for someone else’s version of the story or how things should be. Encounter the Lord yourself this Holiday and ask Holy Spirit to bring a greater revelation of who He is. It is in ‘knowing Him’ that you will be ‘fully known’ (1 Cor 13:9-13).
Don’t be naive this Christmas.