Elen’s first Christmas passed her by with minimal fuss. By the second time round, however, she had really started to get her head around the whole Christmas thing – loving the bright lights, the cheesey songs and of course – all the presents. Bizzarely, however, it was a small cloth bag stuffed with soft nativity characters that she got most excited by. It contained shepherds, a sheep, 3 wise men and some dodgy-looking angels. Mary and Jo were obviously in there too, but it was little baby Jesus who really captured Elen’s imagination the most. She couldn’t get enough of him as she cuddled him, talked to him, danced with him and invited him to join her at every family meal. All she would talk about was “baby Jesus this” and “baby Jesus that.”
It really got me thinking about Jesus in a fresh way.
Whether influenced by Sunday School stories or South Park stereotyping, most of us have some kind of image in our minds when we think of Jesus. To some He’s the good teacher, to others the compassionate healer. Some think of him as a revolutionary leader while others associate Him primarily with the cross. But to Elen, He was a tiny, helpless baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.
As Pops’ Rat has already revealed to us – we need a Saviour, and that is exactly who Jesus is, as the angels told the shepherds when He was born:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2v10-12)
Jesus was the hero of heaven who had come to save us from the curse of sin, but rather than coming as a mighty warrior, or a charismatic political leader, He came as a vulnerable baby, dependent on a mother for food and warmth. He embraced the fullness of humanity from the cradle to the grave, knowing like us, what it means to grow up in a paiful, broken world, to face every trial and feel every emotion. He laughed, He cried, He triumphed and He trembled.
He knows what true life feels like from our perspective, which is awesome because it reveals to us that God is not a loveless, distant God who doesn’t give a stuff about what we go through. Rather He is a good God who is willing to step right to the heart of where we are at in order to reveal His love to us.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4v15-16)
Baby Jesus reminded me that even a toddler can relate to the Saviour of the world.
I love that!