My son calls me the Grinch. I have this weird thing about me that I like to have all the Christmas decorations down before starting the New Year. I’m torn about it. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. I’m filled with whimsical sorrow as I wrap up the nativity scene and stow away the ornaments for another year. However, part of me gets excited because the anticipation isn’t over.
Jesus came into the world as every baby does—hungry for milk, unable to control his arms and legs, eventually sucking his fist. Our great God donned a frail, tiny human body made in his image. He was born in a dirty stable to a young woman and a modest, hard-working carpenter. There was no pomp and circumstance. The innkeeper continued with his duties, unaware of the miracle in the barn outside. The guests dined and slept peacefully in their rooms while the humble savior of the world lay in a feeding trough. God could have chosen to have His Son born in the Bethlehem version of a Four Season’s hotel or a luxurious palace with parades, singing, and dancing as the world rejoices at his arrival.
But that’s not how it happened.
God chose such humble beginnings to break down the barriers between a perfect God and imperfect man. He didn’t don royal robes. He removed them to cloth himself in swaddling cloth so that we might connect with Him, relate to a flesh-and-blood man, feel His love without shame, and let Him wash away our sins. All because our God is a relational God.
I get excited to put away the Christmas decorations because it symbolizes preparing for what God is doing next. Our anticipation shouldn’t get tucked into a box and stuffed in the attic until next year. We need to ready our hearts for His return because next time, He won’t come as a tiny baby. He’ll return as the crowned King in all His strength, might, and splendor. A single star’s light won’t shine to guide a group of shepherds. Jesus will shine bright in all His glory for all to see. This time there won’t merely be a few magi paying their respects. Instead, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus as Lord.
In Bethlehem, Jesus was born to be the sacrificial lamb. When He returns, He will come as the Lion of Judah.
Hallelujah, come Lord Jesus!
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