I have come to expect certain things each Christmas. I like the lemon bars my mother makes. I enjoy the gifts my son buys from his school and the thought he puts into them. I really enjoy the movie “Elf,” and secretly wonder what spaghetti would taste like with syrup on it.
I also expect to see the manger scene in front of our church. My children love running over to it so they can see “baby Jesus.”
Here I am, a pastor, thinking about lemon bars, Christmas gifts and Will Ferrell movies, and the simple enthusiasm of my children reminds me that Christmas is about something else, something more.
Christmas is about what the manger scene represents. It reminds us that when the time was right, God sent His Son to earth to be born in a humble stable. Jesus came down from heaven leaving behind the glory and the honor befitting him in heaven. The manger reminds us God loves us so much that He came to us. The rebellion in our hearts prohibits us from going to Him. But rather than abandoning us, God came down to us. He came down, making a way for us to one day come home to Him. The baby in the manger will one day grow into the man who lays his life down for us. Jesus sacrificially offers himself on the cross for us, taking the burden of our rebellious nature upon Himself as His supreme gift of grace.
This is the true message of Christmas: a loving God who comes down to us so that we can one day come home to Him.
Coplen is associate pastor Crosspointe Christian Church in Grosse Pointe Woods.