As we celebrate the day Jesus crossed from eternity into mortality, I want to ask you something – how do you picture Jesus?
Is He a helpless baby in a manger? Is He a rock star thronged by the masses? Is He the compassionate healer who reaches out to the hurting and lonely? Is He the falsely accused who is brutally killed on a cross?
Yes, He is all those things, but He is so much more. His story didn’t begin in the manger any more than it ended at the cross. I think one of the dangers of Christmas is that we keep Jesus in the manger – a sweet and innocent baby. We forget that He existed long before the manger. We forget that the One who created all chose to become part of the world He created! (John 1:1-14)
We also forget that He will return in power. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “In the First Light” by Todd Agnew. In that song, there’s a line that reminds me
“Before His life began
He knew He’d come back
Not as a baby
But as the Lord…”
Revelation 1:14-17 gives us John’s vision of this coming King. “His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from His mouth. And His face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead. But He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever! and I hold the keys of death and the grave.'”
So as you celebrate Jesus’ birth, may you remember that the baby in the manger is just a small part of God’s grand story of redemption. He came once as a helpless baby, but He will come again as a mighty King!