If you've ever wondered why a baby in a manger means so much to so many people here's something I read recently that will help. You see although the Bible doesn't have too much to say about the Christmas card scene of oxen and donkeys, swaddling cloths and inn keepers it does wax lyrical about the identity and implications of just who the baby in the crib is:
Jesus Christ, God's perfect Son, is the Beloved of the Father, the Song of the angels, the Logic of creation, the great Mystery of godliness, the bottomless Spring of life, comfort and joy. We were made to find our satisfaction, our heart's rest, in him.We can get distracted by so many things and not just at Christmas time as well. We in the church as much as those outside take only fleeting glimpses at Jesus before 'graduating' onto something else:
It's not just our self-focus, though; we naturally gravitate, it seems, towards anything but Jesus - and Christians almost as much as anyone. Whether it's the 'Christian worldview', 'grace', 'the Bible' or 'the gospel'; as if they were things in themselves that could save us. Even 'the cross' can get abstracted form Jesus, as if the wood had some power of its own. Other things, wonderful things, vital concepts, beautiful discoveries, they so easily edge Jesus aside. Precious theological concepts meant to describe him and his work get treated as things in their own right. He becomes just another brick in the wall. But the centre, the cornerstone, the jewel in the crown of Christianity is not an idea, a system or a thing; it is not even 'the gospel' as such. It is Jesus Christ.Beautiful! Jesus is all in all. Jesus makes me burst with delight. Not some religious ideas or some ancient philosophies but Jesus, the person, my friend and saviour. I find it so strange (from an objective point of view) that such fierce and strong emotions could be felt simply by reading the words above off a page. Yet it isn't the words that excite me but the truth they bear witness to. Jesus is my saviour, my Lord, my God yes - but he is so much more. He is the life in my veins, the song of my heart, the delight of my soul. His goodness to me satisfies like nothing else, his richness, his kindness, his mercy, his happiness shared, his compassion, his leadership, his teaching and even his rebuke, everything about him fills and enriches every part of me. I cannot comprehend not least explain the richness and the strength of such feelings. It may be fuelled in part by a good cup of coffee or some favourable circumstances but I know that it is much richer and more substantial than that.
One author in light of all this, wrote to a friend with this advice:
Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief. Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love and repose in his almighty arms... Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense of the sweetness and excellency of Christ and all that is in him.Jesus is all in all. The greatest influencer and driver of history, the world's true king and the rescuer come to redeem us from our sin.
I love Jesus and Christmas gives me the clarity of perspective enough to see it and boldness I need to say it.