Christmas approaches bringing familiar strains: “Away in a manger, no crib for a bed…the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head…”
I love that carol, especially when sung by children’s sweet voices. The lyrics transport me to another place and time, to that star-studded night in a distant land. They take me to a dark and lonely stable where a nervous young husband coaches his bride through childbirth’s groans and writhes. They help me envision a young couple wrapping their infant in a blanket and gazing on His face with wonder, awed at the privilege of holding God incarnate in their human hands.
Imagine the baby Jesus cooing, crying, sucking at his mother’s breast. Squinting through newborn eyes. Wrapping his wee fingers around Joseph’s man-sized thumb. Demanding nighttime feedings. Spitting up on Mary’s shoulder.
Now imagine baby Jesus all grown up. Need a little help with that? Try this description, courtesy of John the Baptist:
“And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 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’” (Revelation 1:13-18).
Wow. This season, we celebrate the baby Jesus—the newborn wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger fast asleep as sheep and cows stand reverently nearby. He deserves our adoration, but let’s not forget to worship Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is indeed, the living one who holds the keys of death and the grave. He’s our Savior, our Hope, our Peace, and our Joy not just in this season, but forever.
Take time this busy season to ponder John’s description of the grown up Baby Jesus. What part of it grabs your attention the most? Why?
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