One of the highlights of Christmas when I was a little girl was the manger scene on the corner of our church lawn. For the month of December it sat in serene surroundings and was lit up every evening. Baby Jesus hadn’t been born yet—the manger was empty. Then, miraculously on Christmas morning He appeared in the manger as Mary and Joseph looked on in adoration.
During the Christmas season it’s natural to think of Jesus as a baby. We tell the story of His birth in a stable because there wasn’t room at the inn. Because the details about Jesus’ childhood are missing, other than His visit to the temple when He was twelve, it’s easy to forget that this baby grew into the man whose three year ministry took Him to the cross.
I’ve seen portrayals of Christ on the cross depicted in artwork and jewelry. His sacrifice is vivid, though hard to imagine. The miracle of the cross is that Jesus didn’t stay there. On the third day He rose, by the power of the Holy Spirit—victorious over sin and death.
After His resurrection, Jesus spent forty days with His followers and then was taken up in the clouds as they looked on (Acts 1:9-11). He promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The angels proclaimed that Jesus would come again. He now sits at the right hand of God. But, what does He do there? What’s His role? He is no longer the Christmas baby and He is no longer a prisoner to the punishment of the cross.
Hebrews 5: 8-10 says that He is our High Priest, the one Who paid the sin-debt on my behalf and on behalf of the whole world, and He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:22-27). This is a comforting and awesome thought—to know that Jesus is praying for me! He prays that I will not fail and that I will finish the race of faith. He prays that I will be strengthened when going through tough times. And, He intercedes when I bring my needs and requests.
Though He’s no longer a baby, I welcome Him as my Christmas child, born in a lowly (and smelly) stable signifying His message is for all people, no matter their status. No longer on the cross, I praise Him for my salvation won there. I embrace Him as my Savior and risen, victorious Lord. He’s not walking among us any longer yet I am thankful that He has not left me alone. His promised Spirit has come to indwell all who recognize their need of Him. His spirit indwells every believer, equipping them to live with a heart that is forgiven and right before God.
Enjoying the hope of Christmas,