"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." Luke 2:7
We are tempted to keep the baby Jesus tucked safely away in a manger, far removed from daily life. Such a sweet little baby cradled on a bed of straw, surrounded by livestock, smiled upon approvingly by Mary and Joseph, and adored by shepherds and wise men warms our hearts and is not very threatening. He makes no demands of us regarding our priorities, attitudes, lifestyles, and commitments. But an adult Jesus who teaches and heals and performs miracles; who challenges and confronts us with demands of God's kingdom; who is crucified, dies, is sealed in a borrowed tomb, and then rises from the dead on the third day challenges everything that we know about life on earth.
That sweet little baby whose birth was heralded by angels grew up to be a man, and not just any man, but the God/man who fully embodied and demonstrated God's radical, irrepressible, never-ending love in human terms that we can understand. It is this image of Jesus that commands ultimate devotion.
Now you and I are personally involved because we know the true story of Jesus. That baby's humble beginning is only the first chapter in a drama that has yet to be completed. By entering into our consciousness, his story has become a part of our history. That baby is now known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We call him Jesus (Savior) because he saves his people- those who look to him and trust him- from their sin as well as their bondage to sin.
The shepherds and wise men paid tribute to him. Millions upon millions of people have committed their lives to him. And by His grace I will be more intentionally committed to being one of those faithful followers!