What are some things you want Jesus to help you with this year?
One Christmas my wife and I went shopping. As we were driving along, my cell phone rang. My wife, Chantal, took the call and listened carefully. On the other end our oldest daughter, Hannah, nearly in tears, told us about a tragedy that had just occurred.
In winter our dog Amelia loves to sneak into our living room and lie in the sun (especially in the mornings when the sun hits that room). Amelia is normally a good and obedient dog—but not that day. The Christmas tree stood in one corner. In the bay window, Chantal had placed a simple wooden Nativity scene from Germany. Baby Jesus was lying in a manger; shepherds sat around, there were some Wise Men standing—oh, yes, Mary and Joseph were there also.
Then the unthinkable happened. Amelia, sniffing around those figures, decided to test the wood strength of—you guessed it—Baby Jesus. When our daughter rescued the figure and the manger, the damage had already been done, and both were badly mangled. I still remember the last sentence of Hannah’s report on the phone: “Well, the crib and Jesus now look more authentic.”
She got it right. Jesus, lying in a mangled crib—that’s more authentic. That’s the real story.
With all the wonderful Christmas songs, candle lighting, gifts, and food we’ve just enjoyed—we may have over- looked this part of the story. But it is this side of the story that tells me (not just the world) that I am loved, that I have value, and that God has a way—for me.
Jesus chose to be born in a peasant’s family, living a life of hardship. He did it because He loves us in spite of our sin that we so carefully try to hide. The broken and mangled Baby Jesus is a powerful reminder of what the gospel is all about. It’s real good news that has the power to transform lives. And it’s an invitation to let God fix the real problems we have.
Let’s remember this part of the story as we start a new year!