From Mansion to Manger
John 1:14 (NLT) "So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father."
Do you remember the story of "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse"? The mice were cousins and each wanted to see how the other one lived. When the country mouse went to the city, he wasn’t prepared for the abrupt lifestyle changes awaiting him. The rich food was not to his liking, the honking horns and speeding cars were noise to his little ears, and tall buildings cluttered the landscape. Sleeping was impossible because the city cousin’s “apartment” was in a hotel under the bandstand. And he almost lost his life when discovered by a human. Disenchanted, he returned home.
Later when the city mouse visited his country cousin, he too was disappointed. He shuddered to think of living in a hole, sipping tea made from dandelions, and curling up in the oak leaves his cousin called a bed. In the morning he scowled at the chirping birds. Irritated with this rude awakening, he kicked a tiny pebble across the tree-trunk floor. And when it came to the work of gathering acorns, he grew tired just thinking about it. So he too, returned to the place he called home.
This children’s story makes me think of Jesus and the ultimate sacrifice He made for all people. Jesus left the mind-bending beauty of His heavenly home to come live on earth. He had to trade places in order to fulfill the scriptures that foretold of His birth. He traded all the comforts and luxuries of His magnificent mansion to start life anew in a stable. Aside from Mary and Joseph, Jesus’ first cry was heard by His four-legged roommates. But this King’s arrival did not go unnoticed. The heavens were filled with angelic voices praising God. It was a glorious night for all who believed in the miracle of this infant--the Son of God.
Jesus’ life on earth did not mimic that of a king. He did not live in a palace or dress in fancy garb. Instead Jesus grew up among the hard working common folk. He rubbed elbows with the sick, the greedy, the homeless, the outcasts, and people like you and me. God sent his only Son for one purpose--to save mankind from eternal death.
During His time on earth, Jesus experienced love, joy, laughter, sorrow, pain, loneliness, fear, abandonment, temptation and more. Whatever emotions you have felt, He has felt. Jesus never sinned but came to earth to carry your sins to the cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus felt deserted by his disciples, He was faced with temptations and fear. He knew His life on earth was coming to an end. Unlike the mice in the children’s story, Jesus didn’t retreat when things got uncomfortable. He was obedient to His Father’s will. So in love, He traded His life for your redemption.
Today Jesus’ love is as real as it was 2000 years ago. When you open your heart to Him, He lives in you. He sees to all your needs, if you only ask.
If you are struggling with temptations, Jesus says, “I’ve been there, my friend. But remain true to yourself and live according to the values that honor your Father. Trust me to give you strength to resist all your temptations.”
If you have made some bad choices, Jesus says, “I am your friend. Let me help you make things right. I will not leave you, especially in your time of trouble.”
If you are grieving, Jesus says, “Come and let me cradle you in my arms. Allow me to comfort you and give you hope for a brighter tomorrow. Believe in Me and know that death is not the end, but rather a new beginning.”
If you have shut Jesus out of your life, He says, “I miss you so much. I want to lavish you with my love and give you a better life. Please talk to me.”
Jesus knew a time would come when you would need His unconditional, unwavering, arm embracing, unending, never failing love. And He is on call 24/7 just for you. His love has no limits. Each time you trade your ways for His ways, you experience His glory.
You have witnessed His glory in your answered prayers. Each day you see His glory in the sunrise and sunset, the moon and the stars, and all of creation. All the miracles in your life are signatures of His glory. All the battles you have overcome are evidence of His glory.
Your vast love is beyond my comprehension. That You became human and experienced death for me is more than I can fathom. Help me to always be faithful to You and never trade Your love for anything. Amen
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