Have you ever considered why our Lord was born in a manger and not a magnificent palace? Well, this month I would like you to consider, actually marinate if you will, in the message of a manger, and see if God does not meet you in your place of deepest need and shower upon you glad tidings of great joy!
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 KJV).
As pastor of The Cross we are preparing to celebrate our third Christmas together as a church family. There is great excitement throughout our campus, but make no mistake, there is also great pain for many who are reminded during Christmas season of the loss of loved ones. I not only consider it a great privilege to minister to people through this season on both ends of the spectrum, but I too am the recipient of ministry myself from our family of faith. Last Christmas season Momma Boland went home to be with our Lord and a few years before, my dad went home in the afternoon of Christmas day. So I know from personal experience both the joy and pain the Christmas season can bring. And this is why the message of a manger is so important to share. Let’s take a look at three reasons why.
If Jesus had been born in a magnificent palace, only those of noble birth would have had access to Him. But to be born in a lowly manger makes this Christ child approachable to all who will come to Him. You do not need to be born into a high society to approach Him. You do not need to be born into a family of princely pedigree to approach Him. You do not need to be born on the right side of the tracks (wherever that is to be found) to approach Him. You need only to be born again (John 3:3) by grace through faith to approach this baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. His approachability leads us now to His accessibility
The only guards posted about the Christ child had four legs. There were no palace guards to keep out the riff raff. There were no palace gates to bar the way to Him. The angel made the first announcement of the birth of Jesus to shepherds, who were among the most despised social groups in Judea. These shepherds were both religious and social outcasts and barred from worship in the Temple. No respectable Jew would have anything to do with these unsavory individuals. To be sure, they would not have had access to Jesus had he been born in a palace, but in a manger, they were welcomed.
From just a cursory glance through the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus from the cradle to the cross, we see that it was the unwanted and the undesirable who were welcomed with open arms by Jesus. Unsavory shepherds, unscrupulous tax collectors and unwanted sinners were welcomed by Jesus. The sick were welcomed. The broken hearted were welcomed. The hurting and downcast were welcomed. The poor were welcomed. The foolish were welcomed. The “good thief” dying on a cross was welcomed. His accessibility leads us not to His availability.
As comforting as the first two categories of approachability and accessibility are, availability is the summon bonum — the highest good. What good would approachability and accessibility be if Jesus did not make Himself available? It should be easy to see that the message of the manger shouts of the availability. He was available to all who would come unto Him from the cradle to the cross. But that’s not the end of the story. The cradle led to the cross and the cross led to a grave that held Him for three days. But on that third day, a dead man got up and walked out and is available right now for all who will come unto Him, by grace through faith, and receive Him as both Lord and Savior.
“But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand” (Luke 22:69 NLT).
Regardless of where this finds you this Christmas season, whether it be “white” or a bit “blue,” marinate on the message of the manger, and the One who is approachable, accessible, and available will meet you in your deepest place of need.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT).
I pray you have a blessed Christmas season and that your heart will be moved and ministered to by the miracle and majesty of the message of the manger and the truth about this promised Messiah who is always approachable, accessible, and available to EVERYONE (including YOU) who will seek Him out 24/7. He wanted me to tell you this.
This is the gospel. This is grace for your race. Never forget that…Amen!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.