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Seeds of the Kingdom

A Way in a Manger

by Philip Asselin

21 December 2023

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The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
John 1:14a, NIV

No, the title of this ‘Seed’ isn’t a typo. As I recently saw the title of this well-known Christmas song, suddenly my eyes opened and I read it differently from the way I had always done. God’s answer to saving fallen mankind was indeed ‘a way in a manger’.

It’s not how I would have done it. After all, the Messiah had been promised since the fall of Man in the Garden. What was needed now was a massive show of power, might, glory and strength. OK, the angels sang their praises at the birth of Jesus, but it was only poor shepherds who heard them.

This event should have required all the multiple millions of angels to be heard around the world.  |It should have required a dazzling light show surrounding Mary and Joseph in the greatest palace in the world, world leaders, kings, and queens invited, the paparazzi taking photos, and every TV channel broadcasting the birth with a full commentary in every language. But no. God instead chose a lowly stable, a manger for a bed, and not even a room pre-booked at the local inn; ‘and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger’ (Luke 2:7, NIV).

To top it all, the Son of God chose to be born as a baby! I’ve never really heard the full implications of this spoken about at Christmas, so it’s worth taking a moment to consider. The very word of God, who spoke the world into being, came into the world. But He didn’t just take on the ‘form’ of a human being. He actually became one, one hundred per cent.

That meant He grew in His mother’s womb, was born as all other babies were at that time, and was unable to communicate, except through smiles, laughter, and tears (forget about the idea about ‘Little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes’). Imagine yourself in that position. You have no control over your bodily functions, and you are dependent on your mother for food. How could you suffer that? I don’t think I could. This is costly love of the highest order. Yet Jesus accepted it, and never referred to it in any negative, ‘poor me’ way, to emphasise what He suffered for us.

Jesus was born into a family, Mary and Joseph’s family. He wasn’t an alien being, but a beloved son. This isn’t a mistake. Jesus didn’t just exist on His own. Family was vital for Him. Why? Because He came from a family. We tend to look upon Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one person, yet also three separate persons. Whilst that is true, they are more than that. God is family and needs to be seen as such.

He calls us to be part of His family. He declares that we are not slaves or servants, but beloved sons and daughters. So, it’s no surprise that Jesus was born into a family. We need family. We need a church to be family to us. The early Church caught that message from the disciples and the apostle Paul. It’s sad that so many have forgotten that. This Christmas let’s remember what Jesus went through for us, and let’s be reminded that He calls on us, His Church, to be family to others and love them as He does.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor. He and his wife Gillian attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown up children, one grandson, and a step-granddaughter in California, and a daughter and granddaughter in Eastbourne. His desire is to see people healed and set free to serve God.

 

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