For many of us, that's where Jesus is. A cute little baby lying in a manger. He's smiling and cooing and generally looking harmless. He fills us with good feelings, as healthy, beautiful babies do. We never hear a whimper, never a cry. He’s the perfect baby.
It's convenient to leave Jesus there. A harmless baby, making no demands on us. We don't even have to change His diaper. We can go about our lives without thinking of Him, then return to the stable to find that happy, smiling baby.
Part of a nativity scene to be pulled out once a year. Almost lost among the sheep and cattle and shepherds and wise men and angels. A tiny piece in a larger set, all wrapped up in tissue paper and stored away at season's end. Placed in a box next to Santa and his elves, right under the Christmas lights and tree decorations.
Away from me. Away from the real world. Tucked away, stored away. That tiny baby is part of another time, another reality. A figure from history, maybe, or maybe just a part of a legend that men have passed on for hundreds of years. Either way, that tiny baby just doesn't seem to fit in the harsh realities of the twenty-first century.
If that's your view of Jesus, I want to encourage you to take a look at what the Bible says about Him. His birth is a tiny part of the story of Jesus, so small in fact that it goes unmentioned in two of the four gospels. That manger is overshadowed in the Bible by a cross, dwarfed by the reality of an empty tomb. Jesus didn't come to earth to be a cute baby. He came to give His life on a cross. His whole life centered around that. Having given His life, He was placed in a tomb, laid on a stone slab not unlike the stone manger where He was first placed. But, just as He left that manger years before, He left the tomb behind as well, coming forth as the conquering Lord of Lords, defeating death in one mighty act of triumph.
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