Meanderings of a Minister


Why Is the Baby in the Manger Such a Gift?
December 2, 2016, 11:30 am
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away_in_a_manger

As we quickly approach this Christmas season (that’s right!  CHRISTMAS!  Not Happy Holidays.  Not winter break.  Not anything other than CHRISTMAS!), it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we can actually go through the entire Christmas season without thinking about the One Whom the season is designed to celebrate.  Of course, we don’t think of it this way.  We think that we have been to all of the special church services, cantatas, children’s programs, dinners, socials, Sunday school parties, etc., but have we actually stopped to unwrap and think about the greatest gift we have ever received.

In Romans 5, we are given a list of what makes this gift so special.  As we think about the Baby in the manger, we can’t help but to think of the cross since this is the purpose for which the Baby in the manger came.  While we may not typically think this way, we need to stop and think about just how awesome it is that God Himself gave us this gift.

For those that have surrendered their lives to Christ, Romans 5 lists the following benefits we receive with this gift of eternal life:

First, we receive peace with God (verses 1, 10a, 11).  This is the peace that means a settling.  It is not primarily the peace that comes because of the absence of conflict or any opposition, but means the peace that comes when that struggle is seen in its proper perspective.  In other words, “We in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him Who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)

Second, we receive an “Introduction into the grace in which we stand” (verses 2a, 15b, 17b, 20b).  Through the Baby in the manger, we have been introduced to grace.  What does that mean?  It means that it is through that appearance of God the Son that the covenant that would be sealed in His blood was begun and we were given the first glance.  This is even seen in Simeon’s comments later to the young mother, Mary, when he told her “a sword will pierce even your own soul – to the end that thoughts from many hearts will be revealed.”  (Luke 2:35)

What is that grace in which we stand?  It is none other than that, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  (John 3:16)  It is that grace whereby we as sinners have the opportunity to have our sins forgiven (Isaiah 1:18).  It is that grace whereby we as unrighteous have the righteousness of Christ thrust upon us (Psalm 24:5).  It is that grace that we have received as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-10).  It is that grace in which we stand.  It is not a grace that we approach, open, throw on a shelf, carry the membership card in our wallet and never think of it again.  It must be what directs and drives our lives.

Lastly for this week, we also receive the hope of the glory of God in which we exult (verse 2b).  This takes some explanation because most of us do not speak in these terms in everyday conversation, at least, not like they mean in scripture.  What is hope?  It is not the positive thinking that tomorrow might be better and we are really look forward to the possibility and would like for it to be that.  The hope of the Bible is a confidence that something will be exactly as expected and more.  There is no doubt.  There is no chance.  It is a future fact seen as a present confidence.  When the Baby came in the manger, He showed us that God had come to earth in the form of a Baby and as a Servant (Philippians 2).  He showed us that there is both somewhere to come from and somewhere to go.

He also showed us our purpose.  It is to glorify God.  All of creation is to bring glory to God.  When we fell in the Garden of Eden, it was a fall from that glory to glorifying ourselves.  We have suffered since and needed to be reminded of the heaviness, reputation, and awesomeness of God (Glory).  Because the Baby came in the manger, we who know Christ should now be constantly jumping up and running to bring Him glory (exulting).

Next week, we will continue this look at the gift of the Baby in the Manger, but even with this little bit of Romans 5, we can see just how awesome this gift truly is.  Have you accepted God’s gift?  If not, contact me.  If you have, take some time this weekend (away from church) to think on what a blessed gift you have received and thank God for Jesus.

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