And she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
We have heard this passage from Luke many times. The words naturally conjure up an image of gentleness and compassion. God became a little baby. A sleeping baby attracts our attention and engenders tenderness. A baby is powerless and totally dependent on others for care. And yet, that is how our God came to us. The profound mystery of the Incarnation brings with it a sense of awe and wonder.
God showed great love for us by taking on our human nature. Jesus taught us how to live with love and compassion toward friend and stranger alike. We are to heal the broken, greet the outcast, free the bound. We are to be a sign of hope in these uncertain times.
The text of the hymn, “Holy Child within the Manger” conveys the true meaning of Christmas. Let us take time during this Christmas season to reflect on the story of this Holy Child as told through the words of this hymn.
Holy Child within the manger, long ago yet ever near;
come as friend to every stranger, come as hope for ev’ry fear
As you lived to heal the broken, greet the outcast, free the bound,
as you taught us love unspoken, teach us now where you are found.
Once again we tell the story – how your love for us was shown,
when the image of your glory wore an image like our own.
Come, enlighten with your wisdom, come and fill us with your grace.
May the fire of your compassion kindle every land and race.
Holy Child within the manger, lead us ever in your way,
so we see in ev’ry stranger how you come to us today.
In our lives and in our living give us strength to live as you,
that our hearts might be forgiving and our spirits strong and true.
Let us open our hearts to Christ as we ponder this profound Mystery in whom we live and move and have our being. May Jesus find room in your heart and bless you with His peace and joy this Christmas and throughout the New Year.