No Longer in the Manger
by Brittany Velasquez
As a child I remember the thrill of unwrapping the family Nativity scene every year at Christmas. Mom allowed my siblings and me to set all the pieces in the perfect arrangement. We carefully rotated the shepherds, wise men, and animals so that they surrounded Mary and Joseph, and most importantly, the baby Jesus.
In recent years I have pondered the true meaning of Christmas. We spend a lot of time focusing on a tiny baby in a manger, and while the birth of Jesus was a glorious event, I sometimes wonder if we have missed the point. Is Christmas really about the birth of Jesus? Or does it extend far beyond that?
Many of the popular Christmas hymns we sing focus primarily on His birth or the events surrounding that epic appearance. A few songwriters even go so far as to call the night of Jesus’ birth as holy or divine, but is that really why we celebrate the holiday season?
The purpose of Jesus coming to earth as a baby was so that He would grow up and become the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Galatians 4:4-5 states, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (ESV) In order to redeem us Jesus had to die. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
This is the reason we celebrate Christmas. I don’t want to detract from Jesus’ birth because that is a crucial part of history’s timeline. However, the fact remains that He is no longer in the manger. Yes, we should remember His birth, but even more importantly, let’s remember His sacrifice. For without that we would have no reason to honor Him this holiday season or any other time.
I think the words of this hymn capture the essence of what Christmas should be about. It should be a celebration of a King who came to earth as a baby so that He could grow into adulthood and save us from death. Christmas should be a time of triumph and jubilation. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus next week let us remember the real reason for the season and rejoice that He is no longer a baby, but a risen Lord and Saviour.
Wake the song of jubilee,
Let it echo o’er the sea—
Now is come the promised hour,
Jesus reigns with sov’reign pow’r.
All ye nations, join and sing,
“Christ of lords and kings is King”;
Let it sound from shore to shore,
“Jesus reigns forevermore.”
Now the desert lands rejoice,
And the islands join their voice,
Yea, the whole creation sings,
“Jesus is the King of kings.”
See the ransomed millions stand,
Palms of conquest in their hands,
This before the throne their strain,
“Hell is vanquished, death is slain.”
Blessing, honor, glory, might
Are the Conqu’ror’s native right;
Thrones and pow’rs before Him fall,
Lamb of God and Lord of all.
Time has nearly reached its sum;
All things with the bride say, “Come”;
Jesus, whom all worlds adore,
Come, and reign forevermore.
By Leonard Bacon