The babe born to Mary and Joseph in a manger in Bethlehem was no mere human. He was the fully divine blessed Messiah sent to restore the rhythm in Creation’s rhyme and save the lost. As we prepare this week to celebrate when the Word became flesh, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from Max Lucado’s book, IT BEGAN IN A MANGER. I pray that it touches you and that in so doing you feel the Breath of Heaven blow through your world. Lord, make our hearts a Bethlehem and therein let the Christ-child be born again.
God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child.
Conceived by the union of
divine grace with our disgrace.
Bask in the coolness of
this night bright with diamonds.
for the heat of anger simmers nearby.
Enjoy the silence of the crib,
for the noise of confusion
rumbles in your future.
Savor the sweet safety of my arms,
for a day is coming soon
when I cannot protect you.
Rest well, tiny hands.
For though you belong to a king,
you will touch no satin, own no gold.
You will grasp no pen, guide no brush.
No, your tiny hands are reserved
for work far more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
the claw the ground of Gethsemane.
Your hands, so tiny, so white–
clutched tonight in an infant’s fist.
They aren’t destined to hold a scepter
nor wave from a palace balcony.
They are reserved instead for a Roman spike
that will staple them to a Roman cross.
Sleep deeply, tiny eyes.
Sleep while you can.
For soon the blurriness
will clear and you will see
the mess we have made of your world.
You will see our nakedness,
for we cannot hide.
You will see our selfishness,
for we cannot give.
You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.
Our eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit
and witness her ugly prince. . .
sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.
Lie still, tiny mouth.
Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak.
Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead,
that will define grace,
that will silence our foolishness.
Rosebud lips–upon which ride
a starborn kiss of forgiveness
to those who believe you,
and death to those who deny you–lie still.
And tiny feet cupped
in the palm of my hand, rest.
For many difficult steps lied ahead for you.
Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?
Do you feel the cold seawater
upon which you will walk?
Do you wrench at the invasion
of the nail you will bear?
Do you fear the steep descent down
the spiral staircase into Satan’s domain?
Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow
you might walk with power.
For millions will follow in your footsteps.
And little heart. . . holy heart. . .
pumping the blood of life through the universe:
How many times will we break you?
You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.
You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.
You’ll be crushed under
the weight of your own sorrow.
And you’ll be pierced
by the spear of our rejection.
Yet in that piercing,
in the ultimate ripping
of muscle and membrane,
in that final rush of blood and water,
you will find rest.
Your hands will be freed,
your eyes will see justice,
your lips will smile, and
your feet will carry you home.
And there you’ll rest again
in the embrace of your Father.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. ~Luke 2:11 ✝
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