If you aren’t destitute this Christmas, don’t bother putting up your nativity. A heart with no need can celebrate Christmas with Santa Clause, Frosty, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and cocoa by the fire. The manger is for the destitute, those who know they don’t have a chance without an immaculate conception, incarnate God, perfect life, sacrificial death, and triumphal resurrection.
“What do you want for Christmas?” my pastor asked the congregation during his sermon last Sunday. I’ll tell you what I want: something I can’t go out and get on my own. I can get new clothes, music, books, or gadgets. I can’t get a guilt-free conscience. I can’t keep my head above the surface of the ocean of shame I daily swim in. The failures, the “should haves”, the to do lists – I can’t manage them all.
I’d really like a miracle this Christmas. Fire to fall from heaven and consume my weariness and shame.
The only way to find a miracle is to begin at the manger, welcoming the Christ child. At the manger we find light and grace and truth embodied in the Word become flesh:
“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:9-14.
Receive the Christ child and become a child, a child of the Father God. If you want a miracle this Christmas, receive the child, believe in his name. Do as the shepherds and wise men and bow before the newborn King. The light and truth that pours forth from the manger is the kindling for a miracle. The belief you demonstrate as you bow and receive him is the spark that ignites the miracle. The burning of his grace within you consumes your sin-struggle, and even weariness and shame cannot extinguish the fiery glow of the Word-flesh within a child of God.