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The manger was ready. The hay neatly dented to receive the swaddled infant child. The wise men and women of the church were about to turn up for the service. But the baby hadn’t arrived, and I was starting to wonder if I’d got my tinsel crossed. How can you have a Christmas service without a baby Jesus? How can you credibly sing ‘Away in a manger’ while all the children are staring into some depression in the hay?
Then I looked at the cross on the wall of the church, and noticed that it was empty. And then thought of that garden tomb that becomes the focus at Easter, and remembered that it’s empty too. I guess an empty manger really wasn’t the Christmas crime that my mind was making it out to be. And those wise men and women of the church, and even those wise boys and girls who knew the whole story, would understand.
But make no mistake. The Christian Faith is not a series of empty things. Yes. Empty manger. Empty cross. Empty tomb. But loaded throne! And fully occupied by that One who once lay in a lowly manger. And who hung upon a wretched cross. And who stepped forth from a cold stone tomb. That very King of Christmas and High Priest of Easter and Prince of Heaven, who ‘looks down from on high’, and ‘will fit us for heaven’ to live with Him nigh.
DM 22nd December 2020