Summary: The Christ child represents a lot of figures in our world. That is one of the reasons that God, in his divine wisdom sent a baby into this world.
We have seen as the prophets foretold the Messiah would come. We see that Christ comes in the form of a child, a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. God in his wisdom saw this mere infant as representing mankind in so many ways. Let’s look at the ways God represents Christ in our story today.
1. He was homeless: The verse tells us that there was no room in the inn. Today in our world, we see that homelessness is a serious problem. Greg did a story about the homeless in the Lansing area this Christmas. Is it possible that there are single women sleeping in their cars today? Is it possible in this land of plenty that there are people still living in tents in New Orleans? Christ was in a stable, homeless because there was no room in the inn. Our social agency can’t handle it, the churches can’t handle it, the family and the relatives can’t handle it. He’s homeless, no room for Him in the inn.
2. Not only was He homeless, but he was helpless. Is there anything more vulnerable in our world than a tiny infant? Remember that commercial for a political campaign many years ago showing an atomic bomb and then superimposed on it was a small child with a flower? We see the poverty today, the gritty want in the face of children, the lines at the welfare office. Jesus wasn’t with other children in a nursery, he was with animals. Sheep and goats and donkeys. He was the book of Hebrews said: "Made a little lower than angels." But this low? He was helpless, bound in those swaddling clothes, he was helpless to fight, helpless to fend for self, helpless like so many are helpless.
3. He was not only helpless, but he was harmless. Jesus never hurt anyone. He loved each of us, and still loves us. Children are a gift from God. A harmless representative of us all. So many are harmless. Well intentioned people who can’t seem to get a break. Hoping for the best, they are harmless and unable to lift themselves from their situation. They need help, and only God can help. It was God who directed the child’s life, protected this harmless infant to maturity, harmless he died for you and me.
4. He was hungry. We see the picture of the stable. We see that there was no food, no fire, no means of getting a meal. He would have to depend upon the resources of the mother, and the father. He represents all who hunger. He was a human being in the human race. He hung on the cross for our sins. He was thirsty. He represents all that hunger and thirst. All who have need, all who are wanting and without. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, it is easy and my burden is light." Jesus said this. Later, "behold, I am the bread of life." He became the bread for us. He fills the hunger in our souls.
He was hurting. The stable was cold. Cold bites the flesh, and burns the lungs. The cold, winter air was a hurting wind. It blew through the clothes, it hurt the child in the manger. The straw was not able to keep Him warm. The animals too, were hurting, huddled together in the cold. Christ represents all that hurt today. All that hurt and cling to life. All that have been abused and hurt. All that abuse themselves and hurt. Those that are wounded in spirit, and hurt from others. This Christ was hurt and hurts for us.
He was human. In all this, he was still a child. He was a baby, 100% human, yet divine. He came on a mission to free the world from the chains of humanness. From the grip of sin, from the pain within. But he had to come in earthly form. As a human, to identify with all those on earth, no matter what race, what culture, what social class. Christ represents humankind, from all walks of life. If we go to Bon Secour and go to the nursery, we see babies in incubators, and in isolets. Noone knows their future, no one knows their path. But here in the stable, God knew the path of the Christ child. He would come as a human, as a baby. He would grow and then he would sacrifice himself for all humanity, for all of us, for all our sins.
The story of the Christ child, is a story of mankind. We sing the song "What Child Is This?" This is a very special child coming to us on a very special day. Let’s remember what he came for, what he lived for and that for which he died.