Summary: Jesus made the Way that we can have life abundantly, and that His grace will be sufficient for every infirmity in life.
THE WAY THROUGH THE MANGER
By Rev. James May
Luke 2:7 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.
Christmas and the Holiday Season carries with it a bittersweet experience for a lot of people. Of course, the sweetness is story of the coming of the Christ child into a world that is lost in the darkness of sin. The most beautiful event in the history of mankind was the day that Jesus came from Heaven and took upon himself the form of a human being and became that baby in the manger.
Jesus, who said of himself, in John 14:6, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”, came as a baby, grew up to become a man, stepped out into the world, and for 3 ½ years, testified that he was the Very Son of God, come down to this world for only one reason. He came to give his life upon the cross, to make the way of salvation for all men who would accept his sacrifice for their sin.
He, who is the Way, came by Way of the Manger, preached the Way of Salvation, and made that Way accessible to all men through his own death, burial and resurrection. Now the Way is made for each of us through Jesus Christ. That’s the real meaning of Christmas, and in fact, the way that Jesus made, is the way that all of life can have true meaning. It’s the only Way in which we can have perfect peace and that we can have that joy in our hearts that cannot be explained, but must be experienced one-by-one as we come to Jesus. It is the Way of a fulfilled life; a life of service to others, sacrificing of self to the cause of Christ; and truthfully, the only life really worth living that won’t leave you empty and wondering if your life made a difference.
The other side of this story is that it is during the Christmas season that much bitterness arises as well. You see, the coming of Jesus in that manger, made a way for us to come to know and serve the Lord, but he never promised that the Way would be made perfect and that we would never experience sadness and loss in life.
During this time of the year, more than any other, there are many who go through a time of deepened sadness because of the loss of a loved one. That loneliness is magnified when they see the happiness and togetherness that others are experiencing and they feel so much the more alone.
There are those who are saddened when they think of the fact that even though their loved ones are still on the earth, they can’t see them and be with them on this day. How many families this year will be saddened somewhat because a loved one is on the battlefields of Afghanistan, or on some lonely military outpost, guarding the freedoms of America? And how many families are torn apart because one, or both, of the parents can’t be with their children because circumstances keep them apart?
It has been proven that more people succumb to the depression at this time of year than at any other time. The sadness and loneliness becomes more than they can bear and the only answer to their heartache is to take themselves out of this world. And the saddest part of that is, that after they leave this world, the chances are they enter eternity without God, but it’s too late to turn back after they realize their terrible mistake. (No, I don't believe that suicide is an automatic ticket to hell; but for someone to reach that point, there is a clear indicator that there is a spiritual problem present. Let God be the judge.)
Even though we are not immune to experiencing that same sadness and sorrow, we who serve the Lord, are truly blessed, for even in the midst of sorrow, we have a great hope. That hope is in Jesus, that Way that came through the manger.
Most of you sitting here now know what I’m talking about. There’s an empty chair at your table, and an empty place in your heart that you just can’t seem to fill with anything that will make the pain go away. You’ve spent many long hours crying out to God for relief from the grief, for a return of the joy of Lord to your heart that you might enjoy life to its fullest once again. Your only thought is, Lord, If I could just go back and do it again, I’d do things a lot different. I would never take for granted that which you have given to me that I have lost. But then you realize, there’s no going back; only going forward, living from one day to the next.