We are looking at the Christmas Carol Go Tell it on the Mountain, an old song collected and saved through the efforts of John Wesley Work, Jr. (see Jan. 7). Today we return to the manger. A place we visited just over a month ago (where has the time gone?). The song says, “Down in a lowly manger/Our humble Christ was born/And God sent us salvation,/That blessed Christmas morn.”
Have we lost our awe at the Babe in the manger? We paused briefly in our day-to-day lives to acknowledge the Word made flesh as the Infant in the manger, then it was on to the next thing. The shepherds, as we’ve seen, had a vision of angels who spoke of the wonder and sent them to Bethlehem to see the Baby.
Jesus seemed like any other baby, iconographers and Renaissance painters may have added halos to their art, but the infant in the straw was just that, an infant who cried and suckled, who slept and fussed, who needed bathed and cared for.
The writers of the Epistles remind us that the Infant was more than that, though, “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the Law…that we might receive our adoption as sons and daughters.” (Galatians 4:4-5). We are told that Christ “existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7)
The lowly manger the shepherds visited held a human baby, but also held God. We should remember that when we visit the manger. We should also remember that each of us is made in the image of God. In Genesis, God says, “let us make humanity in our image, after our likeness”. (Genesis 1:26) Like the lowly manger, we hold a piece of God within our humanity. Each and every human being has the hint of God within them. Sometimes it is hard to see, and with others it shines through dramatically.
How does that image of God shine through you? Andrew Kellner, writing the January 23, 2018 meditation for d365.org says, “The fact of the matter is, if someone knows you are a person of faith, they will look at how you live and what you have to say. They will draw conclusions about your faith, your faith community, and even about God based on what they observe. We each act as prophets, people who share in speaking the message of God into the world. So what are your life, your actions, your words and language saying?”
Do you need to revisit the manger and greet anew the Infant there? Can you rediscover the awe of a child and of the shepherds who first came to the manger? Does it make you think differently about who, and Whose, you are?
Next time we consider what it means to be a Seeker. What do we seek? How do we know when we find it?