Jesus Doesn't Belong in a Manger Anymore

The best stories involve the coming of a king. Robin Hood and his merry men fought for justice while waiting for Richard the Lionheart. Aragorn in The Return of the King faced his destiny as the rightful ruler of Gondor. Aslan saved Narnia. Simba protected his pride. Audiences resonate with kings who make things right.

The World's Search for a King

Our world wants a good “king.” Every four years, America picks a president to heal their country. Nations support dictators and bow to monarchs in hopes they might make the world good. It’s an ironic pattern of history. Societies make their men gods and their gods men. Most religions worship deities who act human. Meanwhile, countries exalt their leaders as divine. The world makes those on earth heavenly and those in heaven earthly.

Even during Christmas, news clips praise people as “angels” and discuss “Christmas Spirit” as if it was The Force. Meanwhile, Jesus sits in a manger--not as God--not a man--but a baby, perfect for the spot on the shelf by the ceramic camel. How tragic! The world searches for a hero, but elevates people while diminishing God. It stares at the TV, looking for someone to lead them, while behind them sits the one true King, collecting dust on a shelf.

Why God Became a Man

When God took on flesh in the form of Jesus, it represented more than the birth of a good teacher. It was the coming of the King. The “Immanuel” that Israel groaned for had arrived. Nations made their kings their gods. But they never made their gods their kings. But that’s what God wanted. God became like us so He could make us like HIm.

He didn’t wish to relate to the world through a tent. He wanted to take on the role of an active ruler—a King to fight for, protect, and represent us. No other deity desires that. Most gods stay in their temple, eating slabs of sacrificed meat and smelling smoke. God wanted more. He wanted to love us. He wanted to protect us. He wanted us. Other gods love what people give them. God loves people.

And that’s why we celebrate Christmas, because God came out of the Temple. The King has returned. He left the tent of the Tabernacle to “pitch his tent” with us. Instead of the Tabernacle, He came for the Throne. He came to know His people. He came to be King.

The Place for God

Everyone has a place for God in their heart. Many exile Him from their soul. Others hold Him in their heart, but only as a baby in a manger. Others place God in His rightful place: on the throne in their hearts, where He can both lead and love as King in one’s life.

Christmas removes any freedom from keeping God on a shelf. God now has flesh and rules as King. While the world tries to turn their leaders into gods, God came to the world to be our Leader. Perhaps our world loves stories about returning kings because our world waits for the one, true King. We still live in the days of Nottingham, and Prince Johns abound. But do not fear. Aslan is on the move. The Lionheart is landing on our shores. The King is coming back. What place will He take? Will you give Him the manger? Or the Throne?

Resting in Him,

Pastor Stephen


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