Matthew 1:1-25; Luke 2:1-40, 3:23-38
I can never read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth without hearing the voices of little children. When my nieces and nephews were first graders they took part in their school’s Christmas tradition. The teacher helped the students memorize Luke 2:1-20 every year and the first graders would recite it together at the Christmas concert. Dressed in their white robes and big red bows, their little voices would rise and fall, pause and crescendo at just the right time. Twenty years later they could still recite these precious verses. And I can say with thankfulness my nieces and nephews grew up to love the One who was born in that manger.
Jesus was God at conception. We saw how Elizabeth’s baby reacted to being in his presence before he was born. Today we see where Simeon and Anna recognized this baby would change the world.
What about us? When we read about this baby do we step back and say, “Ah, isn’t he adorable?” like we do when we’re standing in the checkout line behind a stranger’s newborn in a stroller? Or do we gaze into his face, study the shape of his head and the color of his eyes like we do when we look at our own newborn or a grandchild? Do we try to see ourselves in the shape of his nose or chin? How personal is the baby Jesus to you?
This baby does what no other baby can do. He loves you totally. This baby in the manger will grow up to suffer and to die a horrible death because of that love. This baby was born so that you can live. You.
I’m not sure we can grasp the extent of the true meaning behind the birth we read about today. Our holy God who demands holiness of us became a human being so that he could fulfill all of his own demands. He loves us that much. And all he asks of us is that we love him, too. Accept his grace. And live eternally with him with in glory.
I want to see myself in this baby’s face. But not because he looks like me. I want to look like him!
Dear God, as we consider your Son as an infant today, I pray that we would have a personal connection, understanding that Jesus was born that day because of love for each of us. For me. Thank you for this baby, God with us. It’s an amazing truth I pray we will each hold on to as we recognize how intimate our relationship with you can be. You came to change the world, it’s true. But my prayer is that you will change me. May I look like Jesus, walk like him, talk like him, so others will know him, too.