The Christmas Gift is a repost of Away In A Manger that I wrote last year. I hope you like it.
I love Christmas. Love it!! It truly is my favorite time of the year. I love the decorations, the fellowship, the food, the running around the mall at the last-minute trying to find something since I waited too stinkin’ long! You know.
And like many people, the day after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas music playlist on my iTunes is fired up. Yep, from that point on, it’s on like Donkey Kong! No really, I play Donkey Kong the whole time, too.
In the playlist are all the favorites: Mariah, Nat King Cole, and the incredibly outrageous Straight No Chaser. It is music that makes me happy. But there’s one song that has always caught my attention subconsciously. (Can that even happen?) It’s the song “Away in a Manger.” More specifically, the line: “The cattle are lowing, the poor Baby wakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes …”
I guess it hits me funny because … why wouldn’t He cry? He was a baby. I mean, was Jesus a cryless baby? Was there something about His Deity that He kinda just lay there with a smile on His face the whole time? I just don’t think so.
A couple of weeks ago, my favorite orator on the planet, Stan Mitchell, did our devotional here at the office. He talked about how God robed Himself in flesh so that, as the writer of Hebrews wrote, He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest. Now, I don’t have enough characters to explain all of that in this one post. But let me say that I believe, as Stan does, that it was so He could experience life as we do.
So that He could “mediate” between us and Himself on the throne. He humbled Himself, He gave up the right of His Deity, and became a baby. One that wasn’t able to take care of Himself. One that messed on Himself. One that needed to be fed, and burped, and held, and sang to, and taught.
One that would experience ALL … ALL that we experience so that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest. And He became sin and stretched out His arms on a cross, and took from me the only thing I have ever deserved—crucifixion. When He took from me the only thing I ever deserved, He gave me the only thing I could never earn—life.
Life everlasting! Life, that if I admit that I’m a sinner, believe that He died for my sins, and call on Him to be my Savior, would eventually … eventually be a life in Heaven without the screw-ups. Life without the pain. Life full of Love! So as I listen to this song, I can’t help but think that the writer might have been thinking something I don’t understand.
When I see the depictions of Christ on the cross with the crown of thorns and He has a pitiful look on His face with a couple of streams of blood, I think the painter must not understand that my God took a beating so bad that His own mother wouldn’t recognize Him. All because He loves me so much that He would remove Himself from His throne to say to me, “I got this, love of Mine!”