JESUS God’s Way In The Manger For Us!
not happening...impossible…preposterous…crazy…ridiculous…out of the question
What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you think of God being among us? I’m not talking about a manger with a helpless, little baby. I’m talking about the God of the universe—the great “I AM”—hanging out in our manger among the best and worst of humanity.
Just maybe, some of the title thoughts and responses are appropriate. Deities don’t hang out with mere mortals, kings don’t live next door to their subjects, and nobility don’t usually engage peasants. That is until some 2000 years ago when the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords enacted His plan of love on our behalf by doing the unthinkable—moving into our manger—our neighborhood.
The idea of “God in the Neighborhood” is found in Eugene Peterson’s the Message Bible paraphrase which says, “…the Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:10 MSG) I think Eugene has given us a great description of what Jesus did 2000 years ago. “God with us” is one idea of what God did in Bethlehem, but “God in the neighborhood” is quite another! Think of it, royals, power brokers, presidents, and kings have never spent much time among the commoners of their day. Our best example of the high-and-powerful hanging out in the neighborhood shows up during election years. A desire to be elected/reelected has a way of bringing our leaders back to the neighborhoods. There are town hall meetings, backyard BBQs, and handshake gatherings. Anybody can hangout for a little while, but that’s not what happened when God moved into our manger that first Christmas Day.
Here’s what happened…
The Word—Jesus (the reveal of God)—left Heaven and put on skin, muscle, flesh, and bones for us. We call the idea of God becoming like us incarnation. It's not the easiest concept to understand, for it denotes the idea of the Creator becoming a creature, the Immortal becoming mortal and the Know-It-All limiting His own knowledge. The One without faults, flaws, and failures becomes all of that and more—sin for us. Are you grasping this?
He had full control over how He would enter this life and yet chose not to come as royalty or well-connected. Instead, He chose to be birthed by a poor, teenaged, unwed girl, engaged to a carpenter. He chose to be born in Bethlehem, to be delivered in a stable for animals, and to be cradled in their feed trough. He chose to have His welcoming party be sheepherders and His maternity mates be sheep, cows, and a donkey.
He didn’t just make a visit to our manger— our neighborhood. He went to school here…learned a skill here…went to church here…worked here…was tempted here…cried here…laughed here…felt pain here…loved here…healed here…was executed…and died here.
All of this begs the question…WHY?
Why would the Sovereign of Time and Eternity subject Himself to all that is common, complicated, chaotic, and cruel? He could have just spoken a word and set everything straight.
Why? Because of Love. Love does things that don’t make sense and leaves us puzzled. Love moved into our manger—our neighborhood that first Christmas Day. It was a love that superseded our status, our situation, and even our station in life. It was a love that would rather come to earth for you then live in Heaven without you.
As you open your gifts and spend quality time with loved ones this Christmas, remember GOD’S WAY IN THE MANGER—Jesus—who moved into your manger—your neighborhood so that you, by faith, could live forever in His.
The same Jesus who came 2000 years ago still comes today. He’ll make His home in your manger—your neighborhood—your heart—if you have any room. -James-Hey-II