Last week I challenged you to ask God to help you see the Christmas story with new amazement and wonder in spite of the busyness of the Christmas season. This week, as we approach the session on Jesus’ birth and Christmas day next week, I want to continue that challenge in a slightly different way.
Imagine for a moment you are a new parent, sitting in the hospital cuddling your newborn baby. Or maybe you are an aunt or uncle visiting your first niece or nephew for the first time. Or perhaps one of your closest friends just gave birth and you are visiting these friends in their home. Close your eyes and imagine yourself watching this newborn baby sleeping. In your mind, you may be holding the child or sitting beside her crib. She is so still. So precious. This little one has no idea what waits for her in the world. She is alive and thriving, yet utterly helpless and dependent on others for virtually everything. For most of us, our hearts are stirred with deep emotion as we consider the awesome miracle of life against the helplessness of the child. We might even imagine what this child might do or be someday. A doctor? A teacher? A missionary? Who knows? The sky is the limit.
Imagine now you are sitting by a lowly manger filled with hay. Inside sleeps a different newborn. As you look at Him, the same helplessness is layered by an even more miraculous birth. As you watch his breathing in and out, you can’t help but be in awe of this little baby. Again you wonder what this child might do or be someday. A doctor? A teacher? A missionary?
Would this little boy grow up to be a doctor? Not exactly, but as God the Son He healed many physical ailments. Would He grow up to be a teacher? Not just a teacher, but as the Word of God Himself, He taught people about the kingdom of God. Would He become a missionary? Sort of. He came “on mission” from God the Father “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). This little child is God’s Messiah. The word Messiah means “anointed one,” especially a king. The Deliverer and Redeemer would be King over His people. The purpose of Jesus’ birth was twofold: to bring glory to God and to make peace between God and those who trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
As you stare in wonder at this newborn baby, a group of shepherds arrive telling an incredible story of a host of angels saying “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors” (Luke 2:14). What great news!!
May God bless you this Christmas. I pray you will find time to gaze lovingly into the manger of baby Jesus as you prepare to teach this important part of the gospel story and as you gather together with your friends and family.
Jeremy Carroll (@jermpc) is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.