We have arrived at the most wonderful time of the year, not because the kids are jingle belling, and everyone is telling you be of good cheer. Rather, it’s the most wonderful time of the year because to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and His name is Jesus. I want to share a word of encouragement with you rooted in the manger. Have you ever considered why our Lord was born in a manger and not a magnificent palace? It is my prayer that our God will meet you in your place of deepest need this Christmas season and shower upon you glad tidings of great joy!
“Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:4-7).
During the Christmas season, there is a mixture of great joy and great pain for many who are reminded of the loss of loved ones. As a pastor, I not only consider it a great privilege to minister to our congregation through this season on both ends of the spectrum, but I too, am the recipient of ministry myself from our family of faith. In 2014 during the Christmas season, my mom was called home to be with our Lord. A few years before her, my dad was called 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 “AAA” message of the manger is so important to share.
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 cloths and lying in a manger. His approachability leads us now to His…
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.
Just a cursory glance through the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus from the cradle to the cross, and 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 now to His…
As comforting as the first two categories of “approachability” and “accessibility” are, “availability” is the summun 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 alive and well, 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 at the right hand of the mighty God” (Luke 22:69).
In closing, regardless of where this finds you this Christmas season, whether it be “white” or a bit “blue,” meditate on and marinate in the “AAA” message of the manger, and the One who is approachable, accessible and available will meet you in your deepest place of need.
“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’” (Matthew 11:28-29).
I pray you have a blessed Christmas season and that your heart would be moved and ministered to by the miracle and majesty of the “AAA” message of the manger. Remember, this promised Messiah is always approachable, accessible and available to EVERYONE (including me and YOU), who will seek Him not just throughout this Christmas season, but daily throughout the New Year.
This is the gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.